Chinese shoe-making giant, Huajian, is investing a lot of money into turning parts of Africa into leading shoe producers. With their sights recently set on producing a factory in Abia State, Nigeria the giant firm is also offering specialised training to locals who are looking to step into the shoe industry.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has confirmed that the first batch of Aba “shoe-makers” will soon depart the state for specialised training in China.
Last month, Ikpeazu promised that his administration would enhance the standard of shoe making in Aba as part of its investment development strategy. Off the back of this, the state government secured a 1.5 billion dollar shoe factory deal with Huajian for the establishment of a shoe industry in the city.
Ikpeazu insisted that the best way to develop the Nigerian economy was to adopt the Chinese model of a public-private partnership for rapid industrialisation and growth.
The governor expressed optimism that the coming of Huajian Shoe Factory’s Chairman Zhang Huarong from China, would boost the Aba leather and garment industry, stressing that the state’s target was to serve as the hub of the African leather and garment market.
Chairman Huarong, said he was in Abia to seal the deal which started during the governor’s visit to his shoe factory in China and described Abia as a calm environment where business could thrive, local media reported.
According to Huarong, “China has enjoyed a robust relationship with Nigeria and having a factory in Abia would build on the relationship as well as help accelerate the industrialisation drive of the governor.”
In 2012, Huajian opened a factory near Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, employing 600 locals. In 2013, the company committed to jointly investing $2 billion over the the next decade to create a light manufacturing special economic zone in the country. The firm plans to hire around 100,000 Ethiopians, with the desire to teach them skills for locals to develop into managers.