‘How Nigeria can take advantage of the AGOA deal’

Waheed Olagunju

BoI empowers fashion entrepreneurs to deepen market access, competitiveness
Worried by the low level of exploitation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) deal by many operators in the non-oil sector, especially in the cotton, garments and apparels market, a global expert and the Bank of Industry (BoI) have urged operators to improve their standards and skills to access the global markets.

Indeed, to deepen market access and enhance global competitiveness of operators in the Cotton Textile Apparel (CTA) industry, BoI commenced an empowerment scheme for industry players to assist them in bridging the huge demand gap for CTA globally.

Indeed, the Development Finance Institution (DFI) stated the need for Made-in-Nigeria goods to be competitive in order to attract the much-needed foreign exchange while also complementing Federal Government’s effort in diversifying the nation’s economy away from hydro carbon resources

The bank stressed that lots of Nigerian entrepreneurs are still under-selling and under-marketing their products due to lack of access to the global market.

The acting Managing Director, BoI, Waheed Olagunju, explained that the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) worth over $100 billion for CTA is yet to be fully utilized by African countries, maintaining that a small country like Bangladesh was able to do business worth over $5 billion under the AGOA scheme in 2016.

Olagunju during a master class session with an international fashion strategy and brand development expert, Mercedes Gonzalez who is also the Managing Director, Global Purchasing Companies, New York, USA, pointed out the need for Nigerian entrepreneurs to up their game by sharpening their skills to tap into the international markets that present lots of investment opportunities.

“We have potential in this country, but we have not been able to actualize them. This whole process is about ensuring that Nigerian entrepreneurs who operate along the CTA value chain attain competitive industrialisation. They should be able to produce world standard designs not only for the Nigerian market and African market, but for people across the globe.

“Under AGOA, we have about a $100 billion worth of these opportunities where African countries are exporting less than a billion while small countries like Bangladesh last year did $5 billion of export to the United States of America. The most interesting thing is that Nigeria did not appear on the African radar. The countries that exported mainly to the US are our African brothers from Madagascar, Botswana, Kenya and the likes. We need to up our game by sharpening our skills to enable us to tap into the market that presents lots of opportunities,” he said.

According to him, “Many of the products that are on display today are of international standards, but our entrepreneurs do not know how to get out there. This is why we brought Gonzalez to Nigeria as a development finance institution to help build the capacity of the Nigerian entrepreneurs to sharpen their skills in order to take them to the next level and also to be globally competitive. We believe this will go a long way to help Nigeria diversify its economy away from oil to earn forex from exporting our fashion to the world. She is here in Nigeria to teach Nigerian entrepreneurs to bridge the huge demand gap of the CTA industry.”

A brand development expert, Gonzalez expressed delight working with Nigerian entrepreneurs, stating that she is a very big fan of the capabilities and designs of the Nigerian entrepreneur.

“This is not my first experience with designers from Nigeria, I have met them overseas. I have always been a very big fan of their designs and their capabilities and I am here now to teach them the basis part of getting all together.

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AGOACTAWaheed Olagunju


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