BY ONOME AMUGE
Key stakeholders from across sub-Saharan Africa gathered at the just concluded Lagos Leather Fair (LLF) 5 to discuss the roadmap to the future of the leather industry which, according to a report by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), has the potential to generate over $1 billion for the Nigerian economy by 2025.
The two-day event sought to further drive growth within the Nigerian leather sector by educating and creating maximum visibility for leading leather players across Africa, while also reiterating the potential economic impact of the leather sector on the Nigerian economy.
The fair had in attendance over 2,000 key stakeholders including Adeniyi Adebayo, minister of industry, trade and investment, Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State, and members from several federal ministries, Bank of Industry (BOI), trade bodies, financial institutions, leather designers, players in the leather ecosystem as well as local and international investors. It also featured masterclass conversations with speakers drawn from various sectors of the economy across finance, policy, manufacturing, and consultancy, who addressed the challenges of cross-border payments for SMEs, the role of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in aiding intra-African trade, and ways to enhance growth for businesses within the leather industry.
Femi Olayebi, convener of the Lagos Leather Fair, expressed delight about the large gathering and the quality of conversations held at the fair.
“It has been a delight for us to once again hold a physical edition of Lagos Leather Fair, and we are extremely pleased with the success recorded. The crowds poured in across the two-day event in droves, and it is a testament to the value that the finished leather goods sector holds for the wider industry if properly harnessed,” Olayebi said.
The fair has for the past five years constantly provided a platform for leather and lifestyle enthusiasts and industry players to come together to enhance visibility for the industry, while also championing conversations on how to move the industry forward, she said.
The Lagos Leather Fair convener further noted that despite the impact of the pandemic, industry players have continued to hone their craftsmanship, skills, and innovation in order to drive the shift needed to make the industry’s potential a reality.
“We are glad to have created this platform to showcase some of the country’s wins and economic prosperity. Some exhibitors who have been with us from the very first edition have now metamorphosed into international phenomenons, driving a positive Made-in-Nigeria narrative on the global stage,” she said.
Speaking further, she emphasised the determination of the event to continually seek out ways to pool all the necessary thought leaders, policymakers and key players to keep changing the narrative and advancing the necessary conversations in the industry.
Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Adebayo said the ministry was proud of the good works done by the Lagos Leather Fair over the past five years, noting that the fair has created a solid platform where everyone within the leather ecosystem can meet up and hold conversations on how to move the industry forward.
“The result of this has become very visible with the growing attention gained by the industry and increased collaboration amongst players. For us as a ministry, we will continuously drive support till the potential of the leather industry is fully harnessed in Nigeria,” he said.