How Nigeria Can Increase Export Earnings Through Bag Production

no nation develops without training its workforce. Many developed countries have industrial academies where citizens are trained to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

In Italy, the Arsutoria school trains students in the technical details of shoe and bag making. The effect of schools like Arsutoria is that Italy’s leather exports have increased over the years. Italy exported shoes and bags worth 2.047 billion euros in 2021, according to the country’s National Statistics Institute. Similarly, India earned $1.6 billion from leather between April and August 2021, according to the country’s Leather Export Council, thanks to academies like the Shoes and Bag Designing College in the Asian country. from South.

In Nigeria, Chinwe Florence Ezenwa, entrepreneur, certified librarian and maritime security expert, replicates this. She established the Lelook Bags Academy with the aim of training Nigerian women in bag making and helping to industrialize Nigeria and increase its non-oil export earnings.

“My passion and mission is to educate and empower women and youth with bag making skills to complement the fashion and creative industry as entrepreneurs who would start, create and grow businesses. profitable, scalable and sustainable businesses with an attitude of perseverance, not perfection,” she said in response to questions.

She explained that any country’s economy can only rise in value if people are wealth creators and problem solvers. The retired civil servant who worked in the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation and the Police Service Commission said she sees many opportunities with the Continental Free -African Exchange (AFCTA), which Nigeria joined in 2020.

“I see many opportunities with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA and I have decided to raise an army of women entrepreneurs who can support this initiative from Nigeria. Our vision is to make Lelook Ltd the leading manufacturer bags in Nigeria and Africa,” she noted.

She said the Lelook Bags Academy has been bravely committed to instilling bag-making skills in women and young people.

“The driving mantra is for them to think and produce locally and market nationally, regionally, continentally and globally,” Ezenwa said.

She said the academy has trained women and youth to develop, create and grow businesses that can contribute to economic development.

The academy planned to be the main center for the acquisition of skills in bag making for the empowerment of women while teaching them life and non-technical skills. Bag academies are located in Abuja (Lugbe), Lagos and Enugu.

The academy has graduated 25 students and trainees spend six months learning these skills.

“We graduated two sets, one in Abuja and one in Lagos. They are outside the labor market and are putting into practice everything they have been taught. Our track and review index on them shows a healthy green. Work is still ongoing as we continue to hold them in hand to fully stabilize in the local market,” she explained.

The entrepreneur said the last group of students left with starter kits because they were sponsored by Spotlight Initiative, a program of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

She revealed that the academy was collaborating with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs on the initiative.

Given Nigeria’s unemployment rate estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics at 33.3%, the 71-year-old entrepreneur said there was a need for more training centers like this in the country – government sponsored.

“We also encourage the private sector to lead in partnership with training centers like ours, as long as the government can provide the necessary infrastructure.”

In terms of investments in the academy, she said that a lot of investments have gone into establishing the Lelook Bags Academy, including structural infrastructure, human resources, machinery and emotional intelligence.

She said: “It’s huge and unquantifiable, which will leave a strong imprint over time. Since my goal is to give back to society, helping to nurture young women and girls I don’t know and may never know, this vision will certainly outlive me.

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