Italian footwear plant interest

19 June 2004

Following an import ban on certain goods which could be produced locally, a group of investors from Italy have expressed an interest in setting up a shoe and leathergoods manufacturing plant in Kano next June. The target for initial production is 2,000-3,000 pairs of shoes/day. At a meeting with president Olusegun Obasanjo, managing director of Fata Tanning EPF Kano, Yoris Visinoni, said three other companies are involved in the project. He praised the liberalisation policy of the federal government and the ban on some foreign goods and said his company remained the biggest manufacturer of finished leather products in Africa. His firm earned around $50 million last year on leather exports and advised the country to launch itself into the international market. He said that China is currently processing Nigerian leather into shoes and bags with 70 million pairs of shoes exported to the US each year. Visinoni appealed to the president for government support saying: 'Our aim is to capture a substantial part of the American market for Nigeria and this we can only do if we produce high quality finished products and deliver them to the market on time.' General manager of Filanto SpA, Michel Zonno said that the feasibility study had concluded with the factory proposal. The president's special advisor on African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Modupe Sadore said the footwear market in the US alone amounts to $40 billion. President Obasanjo assured them of government support saying: 'Apart from satisfying the Nigerian leather market, the west Africa and African market, the export opportunities for the American market are very much there and even the European market. He promised to make the project a huge success.

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