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The fashion industry in Nigeria and Africa

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By Mercy Kelani

Over 7 million people in Nigeria are employed under the sector.

In Nigeria and across Africa, the fashion industry is a prospering sector. A report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics says that the textile, foot wear and apparel industry in the first quarter of 2021 contributed 0.24 percent to Nigeria’s GDP. Also, the sector was responsible for the employment of over 7 million people across a country in the same year. 10 percent of Nigeria’s manufacturing GDP is contributed by the textile, apparel and foot wear industry, as it employs more than 2 million people.

Regarded as the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has a vast market for the fashion industry. It is known for its diversity in cultural heritage which has massive influence on fashion styles and designs, making the country a hub for fashion across West Africa. The strategic location of the country and its membership in many trade agreements, like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), has opened the window of opportunities for the expansion of fashion businesses to other African countries and beyond.

Nigeria has a favorable climate that helps cultivation of cotton.

Also, export opportunities available for the fashion industry in the country are promising owing to the favorable climate in the country for cultivation of cotton – a primary raw material for production of clothing. AfCFTA provides a tariff-free market for the country’s fashion products in other African countries, to boost the competitiveness of Nigerian fashion brands in the Africa market. It also ensures the provision of opportunities for Nigeria’s fashion industry and Africa’s for expansion and creation of new markets for its products.

Fashion is a prominent style or trend in clothing, personal grooming and accessories. It is referred to as style, trends and designs that are favored and imitated by a certain group of people or culture. The fashion industry is therefore described as a business that has to do with the creation, manufacturing, marketing and selling of clothing, accessories, foot wear and other lifestyle products. It cuts across several sub-sectors such as ready-to-wear, haute couture, street wear and luxury goods.

Diversification of the economy is possible through the sector.

Currently, the Nigerian fashion industry is estimated to be worth more than $2 billion and is projected to keep increasing. Africa and Nigeria’s fashion industry is a primary employer of labour through its provision of jobs for a massive number of people, particularly women and youth, which leads to a reduction in unemployment rates. The industry generates revenue from taxes, exports and other economic activities, contributing to the GDP of the country and the continent, Africa.

Concerning diversification of the economy, the fashion business, as a non-oil sector, provides a medium that aids this diversification. By doing so, there is a reduction in the over-reliance on oil products, as there are now several entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Africa. The industry also provides opportunities to create value chains which include sourcing of raw materials, production, distribution and retail. It also encourages social and environmental responsibilities through usage of sustainable materials, fair trade practices and ethical production.

There are businesses that give quick investment returns in the industry.

To make quick investment returns in the industry, there are various opportunities and chain of businesses that can be leveraged upon. Some of these businesses include manufacturing for local and international markets; retail; fashion design; fashion training and education through workshops and fashion schools; fashion styling for magazines, runway shows and fashion events; fashion photography; textile production of Aso Oke, Adire and Ankara; fashion event planning; fashion consultancy; fashion accessories; fashion blogging and influencing; fashion tech; and sustainable fashion through creation of eco-friendly fashion lines.

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