The director-general of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr. Shola Obadimu, has said that Nigeria remains a strong marketplace for sales of goods and services, and the destination for investors and manufacturers.
Speaking shortly after declaring open the sale and exhibition of beauty products held at Victoria Island, Lagos, which had in attendance over 200 companies and over 5,000 exhibitors. tagged “Beauty West Africa”, Obadimu said the exhibition has proved to the world that Nigeria can hold a world-class exhibition anywhere across the country successfully.
“It also signifies that Nigeria still remains a strong market. There is an indication that Nigeria is a strong market with a lot of demand for her products and services.
“What I would like more is to see some of these companies investing in local industries and opening more manufacturing outlets to complement government efforts on employment creation. This is a good story for us. It shows we are a great country. We can host international exhibitions,” he stated.
Obadimu, who went round to inspect the various outlets and different products exhibited in company of the exhibition manager, Ken Baber, explained that many of the exhibitors were visiting Nigeria for the first time, while some of them have been doing businesses across the West Africa sub-region.
“If we can get them to run this kind of event a few more times, the confidence would come.
“This exhibition is an opportunity for many of the exhibitors who have not visited Nigeria or West Africa to see that Nigeria is a safe place that is ready to host the world.
“With all the facilities that are available, Nigeria is exhibition managers’ delight. This is a well organised event. It shows that the world is free to come to Nigeria to organise such event because Nigeria is a strong market with over 200 million people,” Obadimu explained.
According to Baber, Nigerian markets were growing with so many potential for West Africa and the world.
He said, “We are encouraging Nigerians. We have exhibitors from across the world under one roof here in Nigeria. This shows that Nigeria is the heart of exhibitions. The market is growing and there is so much potentials in West Africa particularly Nigeria.”
In the words of Jamie Hill, the managing director of B and B event, organisers of the exhibition, he noted that the takeaway from this year’s exhibition was that it is the largest edition they have ever organized.
“It is the largest edition we have ever had till date. It places significance on the importance of the Nigerian and the West African markets. The beauty market here in Nigeria has reached 5.28 million USD.
“That played a huge part in the entrepreneurial space of the country. It is very important to highlight that we have government representatives from all over the world. We have official representation from China, Pakistan and Egypt and over 200 exhibitors from around the world.
“So we invite everybody to tap into what the exhibitors have to offer. The exhibition is basically a business platform where international partnerships are fostered. The whole of West Africa is here in Nigeria to do business with the world. We want to grow the made in Nigeria brand in Nigeria, raise SMEs and bring international brands to manufacture here in Nigeria to grow the GDP,” he said.
According to the first vice President, Republic Benin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Agbofoun Leonard, “We are here in Nigeria to learn how things are done. We are here to learn how to organise exhibitions. We have been organising exhibitions in our country but not in this magnitude. So we are here to have first-hand experience of how it is done, so that when we get back to our country, there will be an improvement in our exhibitions.
“We are happy with what we have seen. When we are coming to Nigeria, we informed our president, but he was sceptical about our safety. But we are one and of the same mother.
“We told our president to allow us visit Nigeria and since we arrived at the border, Nigerians are friendly people. We have called our president that we are in safe hands and that we will arrive safely,” she added.