I know I personally felt shocked upon learning that the “African” fabrics I grew up loving and admiring were not really “African” in their origins (or is it? What is commonly known as “African fabric” goes by a multitude of names: Dutch wax print, Real English Wax, Veritable Java Print, Guaranteed Dutch Java, Veritable Dutch Hollandais please correct me if I am wrong. I grew up calling them ankara and although they’ve always been a huge symbol of my Nigerian and African identity, I had no idea of the complex and culturally diverse history behind the very familiar fabrics). This put things in perspective, however, as it suddenly made sense that my mother regularly travelled to European countries, including Switzerland and England, to purchase these fabrics and expensive laces to sell them again in Nigeria, In an attempt to join this lucrative business, my mother once dragged me with her to a fabric store (even though I am not a girl I thought’) while on holiday in London. I was not 10 years old then and I recall being surprised to find such familiar fabrics on sale outside Nigeria.
Now let’s get down to business, Traditional textiles have been produced in Nigeria for many years, but real industrial activity in textile production is comparatively recent. After some minor attempts, the Kaduna Textile Mills was established in 1956, followed by Nigerian Textile Mills in 1962. From inception, these companies were conceived as vertically integrated mills, to convert locally available raw materials – mainly cotton – through spinning for the production of yarn, weaving for the production of grey cloth, and dyeing, printing and finishing, for the production of finished textiles.
We are hoping that today, the sector will developed to incorporate quality fibre production, spinning, weaving, knitting, lace and embroidery makings, carpet production, dyeing, printing and finishing. Investing in this sector is not a bad idea.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Annual report for 1995 showed that out of 13 subsectors in the Manufacturing sector, the Textile sector – comprising Cotton Textile and Synthetic Fabrics – continued to account for a significant proportion of the overall growth of manufacturing production. The synthetic fibre section of the textile industry has recorded substantial growth over the years. The amazing thing is between 60% and 70% of the raw materials used in the industry are sourced locally, the main exceptions being high quality cotton and synthetic materials. The industry is labour intensive, with little mechanization; it is estimated that it provides employment to around 150,000 Nigerians, excluding the thousands who are directly employed in the cottage sector of the industry.
My advice to investors is to invest in the fibre production business in Nigeria its very lucrative. For further information join the Business Round Table (BRT) email me for details firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on twitter @udeozochibuzo. (for the volume of readers overseas in various country who have sent me tons of emails requesting an online BRT sessions, I am currently working out the details with via skype , I’ll keep you update when my negotiations is completed )
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