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Bata is back: Nigerian shoemakers step up

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:05s - Published
Bata is back: Nigerian shoemakers step up

Bata is back: Nigerian shoemakers step up

A franchise of global shoemaker Bata has opened a factory in Abuja, in a sign that the Nigerian government's campaign to boost domestic manufacturing is paying off.

Nneka Chile reports.

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Bata was once a household name in Nigeria but around 20 years ago the global shoe manufacturer closed its factory and left.

Now Bata is back, in a sign that government efforts to stimulate the domestic manufacturing sector are paying off.

Bata Nigeria is a franchise of Switzerland-based Bata, which is present in 70 countries.

In late 2019, Bata Nigeria opened a factory in Abuja - employing 120 people and able to produce more than 500,000 shoes annually.

It has stores in the capital as well as Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Chief Executive Bertram Doze thinks its time for a renaissance in Nigerian-made shoes.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BATA NIGERIA, BERTRAM DOZIE, SAYING: "At the time Bata exited Nigeria, the population was slightly above 60 million and today we are 200 million plus so it's glaring what the market opportunities are." Nigeria's government hopes companies like Bata will boost local manufacturing, create jobs and reduce Africa's biggest economy's reliance on oil.

It's tried to stimulate this with a long-running "Made in Nigeria" campaign which included placing import restrictions on shoes in 2007.

The shift appears to be taking effect.

In 2010 Nigeria imported $180 million worth of footwear, by 2018 this had fallen to $100m.

A change in attitudes towards Nigerian-made products could be part of the reason.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER, CITY COBBLER, TOKUNBO ONAGORUWA, SAYING: "I first started without putting my label on the footwear we made because people didn't want people to know it was made in Nigeria." Tokunbo Onagoruwa, founder of Lagos-based shoe-maker City Cobbler, says "Made in Nigeria" used to have a bad rep.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER, CITY COBBLER, TOKUNBO ONAGORUWA, SAYING: "Now, people wear made in Nigeria with all pride." However, Nigerian manufacturing still faces serious disadvantages such as frequent power outages, poor-quality roads and jam-packed ports that push up the cost of raw material imports.

For shoemakers, the absence of reliable supply chains of rubber can also pose a problem.





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