With the recession and the shortage / high cost of foreign exchange currency faced in Nigeria since last year, there have been calls from many quarters for the promotion and consumption of ‘Made in Nigeria’ products and services to grow the local economy.

As Nigerians, we have all heard about ‘Made In Aba’ products, they have been around for decades – the shoes, the belts, the bags –with the reputation of being imitation products (albeit very good imitations). Maybe you have even bought them at some point…would you proudly admit to this though? I guess that’s one of the reasons why there’s a new campaign by the Ford Foundation in partnership with the Abia State government to promote ‘Made In Aba’ products. You can watch the video below. Innovation village also talks about it here.

For young, would-be entrepreneurs, I think the video should inspire you. These guys are able to churn out products with sheer hard work and determination. And there’s clearly a demand for our locally made products both at home and abroad.

One main challenge I see with the drive to promote our local products though, apart from, of course, the one about electricity (i.e. “Where is the electricity to power the manufacturing sector?”), is that of quality. This may be a generalisation, but I dare say it is true: we are not known for being quality conscious or particular about standards. It seems Nigerians are more willing to buy American or European products and even Chinese products because they can be ‘sure’ of the quality they would get. However, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of products portrayed on the video and also the level of craftsmanship displayed. Maybe the campaign can focus us this aspect for subsequent videos. What do you think?

Photo Credit: Business Day Online