Programmes Lead at My World of Bags, Sinmi Olayebi, has said that the Kafawa Training Program has been designed to help realise the predicted value of the Nigerian leather industry.
According to her, based on expert assessments and reports, the leather industry in Nigeria could generate at least $1bn in revenue by 2025.
Olayebi said what the industry lacked in skilled manpower, the Kafawa Training Programme would provide in the coming years.
Speaking after the recently concluded pilot edition of the Kafawa training program – developed in partnership with MasterCard Foundation – Sinmi said that the programme had recently trained over 300 youths in industrial skills that could help to simultaneously impact the leather space and cushion the nation’s present economic austerity
She said it was designed to help unemployed youths tap into the immense potential of the leather industry, which was beginning to gain increasing currency by the day.
According to her, with Nigeria being one of the biggest producers and exporters of raw leather materials and reportedly one of the highest producers of leather and finished leather products in Africa, the industry was estimated to generate over $1bn by 2025.
She said, “One of the primary aims of the Kafawa Training Program is to create a pool of extremely skilled hands – professionals and thriving entrepreneurs -who in turn create opportunities for other young and underserved people within their various communities.
“The program kicked off with a 6-month pilot edition in Oyo State. Between October 2021 and March 2022, we trained over 500 youth, 375 of whom were unemployed and therefore, underserved. Across the technical classes, a significant increase in knowledge was recorded, with 100% of trainees expressing confidence that they can now produce leather handbags and footwear. Furthermore, approximately 90% of our graduates are now confident that they can launch new businesses within the next few weeks to months, as a result of their participation in the training.”
She said the potential of the leather industry had spurred the launch of Nigeria’s Leather and Leather Products Policy Implementation Plan, and that the development had been a huge boost for industry players across the leather value chain.
She further said that the plan was indicative of potential growth across all facets – from raw material processing and distribution to finished leather goods manufacturing.
“We believe that there are opportunities for producers and skilled hands alike to play a critical role in this development, and simultaneously, reap its benefits,” she said.
According to her, participants of the Kafawa Training Program would not only be given the necessary hard skills to function in the industry, but they would also be given the entrepreneurial and business management training needed to establish and grow microenterprises. The hope and belief was that the microenterprises would in turn contribute to the development of the Nigerian economy, she added