The European Union (EU) and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) are set to partner with Nigeria to boost the country’s leather industry.

According to Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the EU and GIZ partnership will be formed under the Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP). All three parties will draft a strategic implementation plan for leather and leather products policy in order to diversify the economy.

The minister expressed his gratitude to the partners. “I have been reliably informed that the EU and GIZ through NICO in Nigeria are willing to partner with us in the implementation of this policy to diversify the Nigeria economy. I appreciate you,” he said.

As Nigeria moves towards being less dependent on oil, the leather sector is one that remains untapped. The industry represents the second major earner of foreign exchange after oil.

“It has been projected that the Nigerian leather industry tans between 40 to 50 million skins annually, hence it generates between $600 million to $800 million annually. It is therefore believed to have the potential to increase the nation’s’ foreign earnings,” Nairametrics reports.

Furthermore, the prospect of the leather sector was also emphasized in a 2019 macro-economic outlook report.

The Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) stated that the leather value chain market is huge with immense potential of unlocking value across the industry and reducing unemployment rate with projected foreign exchange earnings of over $1 billion by the year 2025.

However, the sector is faced with challenges such as structural barriers, poor visibility and lack of government intervention which have led to huge loss of revenue annually.

With the involvement of the EU and GIZ, there is a huge chance of the sector repositioning itself in the regional and global trade of leather commodities. Some of the long term prospects of the already booming sector include employment generation and increased productivity.

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