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How Aba can truly be the China of Africa through technology

By Raymond Agholor on 08/10/2015

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If there ever was a perfect time for the small scale manufacturers and business people in Aba to stamp their feet as the manufacturing hub of Africa, now is that time. This is true because in a world where everything is changing rapidly, technology presents itself as the best option for the Aba manufacturers to truly be the ‘China of Africa’.

Abia State Small-Scale Industrialist Initiative (ASSII) President, Mr Fortunate Dike’s statement in an interview with reporters gives a nod towards evolving and embracing technology, and the need to expose what Aba is made of, said: “All they need is to be exposed to modern technologies in order to help them meet with the modern trends of technology.” What better way to do this if not with e-commerce as China did?

China stamped their feet as the manufacturing and trade hub of the world all thanks to e-commerce, and Aba manufacturers can learn from their story.

Jack Ma and his team created an online portal to connect China small-medium scale manufacturers with customers overseas, and the result was astronomical for locally produced goods in China. became the No.1 e-commerce platform in the world connecting over 16 million China small scale businesses with the global market and soon grew to having over 240 countries trading on the platform. Today, coupled with low cost of production and ease of accessing the China manufacturers’ pool, most markets in the world are flooded with China products, and e-commerce played a huge role in exposing China’s manufacturing potential to the global market.

A similar solution is what e-commerce portals like is doing for Africa. In the space of barely a year, has accrued laudable success stories. It is time for Africa to compete on a global level.

In an interview with, Mr Femi Aguda, the Co-founder of, shared the motivation behind the online platform. He stressed the need for Africa to be the convergent point of global trade; “The Company is a product of an ardent desire for an Africa that will be the convergent point of global trade and not a continent at the mercy of foreign aid. We think there is urgent need for conscious effort to expose African produced goods so as to change the world’s perception of Africa being a predominantly consumer market.”

Indeed, it is time for the world to know what Africa is made of. There is no doubt that Africa is blessed and has a lot to offer the world and online portals like would play an intrinsic part. As it was noted that is Africa’s locally produced goods export e-commerce, as one of its aims is for Nigerian businesses producing locally to sell to Nigerians and export to a global market.”

What e-commerce would do for the Aba manufacturers is to connect the small scale manufacturers with new markets; creating a market linkage, provide a perfect platform to promote the made-in-Aba products, bring the small-scale manufacturers locked in tiny shops somewhere In Aba to the forefront as Africa’s market and make it easier for customers to directly connect with such businesses, leveraging on technology to access the Africa market, in similar mould of what did for the small scale manufacturers in China.

Already the shoe manufacturing sect in Aba alone supplies several markets within Nigeria and other neighboring sub-regional African countries like Cameroun and Gabon.

Reports say the number of small-scale shoe industries present in Aba is about 10,000 and they record about 1 million exports daily according to The President of Abia Think Tank Association, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa. To think that Aba market can meet such demand daily with no major government support and modern facilities indicates bright future for Africa.

However, results are still meager compared to the standards held by people for Aba as a trade hub and ‘Africa’s China’. Should Aba manufacturers leverage on e-commerce; it would soon see itself match this feat as evidenced with China’s meteoric rise to world prominence as the manufacturing hub of the world; and with platforms like to expose and promote the capacity of the Aba manufacturers, demands can soar higher, exports can improve exponentially and the people of Aba can really do big business.

Of course I’m not ignorant of the pressing need for government support in terms of appropriate policies for “made in Nigeria” and providing adequate infrastructure as these things add to the shunt growth of Aba as a trade hub in Africa, However prior to when Government comes good on their responsibilities, the Aba manufacturers owe it to themselves, their families and Africa to act proactively and act fast to stamp their feet as truly the ‘China of Africa’ because they are Africa’s pride for local manufacturing.

•Raymond Agholor is an e-commerce Blog Specialist. Photo shows Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa.

Source News Express

Posted 08/10/2015 05:21:25 AM


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