170 million people, with per capita income above $5000, and a burgeoning middle class; it is easy to see why Nigeria is one of the most sought-after hubs for consumer goods globally. This unavoidably forces the establishment of large markets, specialized in retailing either groceries, tech devices or households appliances. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is home to some of the continent’s biggest and busiest markets.
A typical day at one of Nigeria’s busier markets involve long walks and aggressive bargaining, manoeuvring through a mob of fellow buyers, and the frequent calls from traders seeking to lure passers-by to their shops. Local phrases commonly chorused by these traders include “Oga, wetin you wan buy?”, “Madam I get am for shop!”
Patronizing one of these markets is usually considered a hectic venture. But if you are up for it, here are some of the country’s most visited.
Nicknamed the ‘China of Africa’, Ariaria Market – located in Aba, Abia State – is one of the largest in Eastern Nigeria. The region is home to the country’s most prolific trading ethnic group, the Ibos, and contributes a significant portion to Nigeria’s consumer goods imports.
Chaotic, industrious, rowdy, cheap, inferior; these are a few of the words used to describe the region’s busiest retail hub.
As one of the biggest African markets, traders troop in daily from across West Africa, with some coming from as far as East Africa.
Alaba International Market, Lagos
Alaba International Market is the biggest market for electrical appliances, electronics, and accessories in Nigeria. Its customer friendly location has made it one of the country’s most patronised retail hubs. To further expand its reach, it recently launched an online platform, drawing customers not resident in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Kurmi Market, Kano
Kurmi is one of Nigeria’s oldest markets, dating back over 500 years ago to the reign of Mohammed Rumfa in 1463. It was once a trade centre for the North West Africa region. At Kurmi, you can find virtually anything from groceries, to food items, fabrics, and even cattle.
As a tourist attraction, it offers souvenir options such as locally woven materials, dyed fabrics, sculptures, carved stones and beaded jewellery.
Aleshinloye Market, Ibadan
Although it experienced a shutdown scare following a fire incident in August, Aleshinloye remains one of the most visited markets in Ibadan. It is the oldest trading hub in Western Nigeria.
Zaki Biam Yam Market, Benue
Zaki Biam is Nigeria’s largest mono-product market. The only product sold in this market is Yam. Situated in Benue, the country’s largest yam producing state, Zaki Biam records an average yearly sale of 1.5 million tubers.
Computer Village, Lagos
Computer village is the largest IT hub in West Africa, home to prominent dealers of mobile phones, computers and its accessories.
This busy market was once a residential area just a decade ago. But following Nigeria’s introduction of mobile phones in 2003, the settlement was quickly transformed into a booming retail spot, housing mobile top brands such as Blackberry, Samsung and Tecno.
According to Omobola Johnson, Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Computer Village generates about $2 billion to the economy annually.
By Felicia Ochelle