An international start-up has been launched in London, with the aim of crafting a world-class leather value chain in north-west Nigeria, from tannery to marketing high-class artisanal products.

Tukur Umar and Muhammadu B Dasuki, the chairman and managing director of Sokoto Investment Company Limited (SICL) respectively, officially opened the Pan African Leather project, to which their organisation has contributed an initial round of seed funding.

The leather tannery and shoe factory in Sokoto is expected to be complete and ready for use in two years.

“Nothing is more important in Nigeria than creating jobs and addressing youth unemployment,” said Umar in a statement.

“We’ve built the right partnerships to help deliver this vision, which is based on Sokoto’s long tradition of leather processing and leather goods manufacturing.” Dasuki said.

The project is being coordinated by London-based Pan African Enterprises (PAE), a social partnership platform that seeks to contribute to economic development, industry and innovation in Nigeria through capacity building.

The statement said Dawn Spetale, CEO of PAE, has assembled an international team of experts, including retired diplomats, investment advisers and business figures, to help direct the project towards its goal.