Business

Ecobank Positioning Adire to Support SMEs for AfCFTA Role, Boost Tourism, Culture

By Edu Abade

It was a beehive of activities and funfair during the Ecobank Adire Lagos Experience which took place recently at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) in Lagos.

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The bank explained that the three-day Adire exhibition, which is its second edition is to promote culture, tourism, Micro, Small and medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Originating from Abeokuta Ogun State, Adire textile is an indigenous indigo-dyed cloth made by using different wax resistant methods to create dazzling designs.

The exhibitions witnessed the influx of topflight exhibitors, government functionaries, culture enthusiasts, social media influencers, artistes, local and foreign tourists, traditional rulers, diplomats, and members of the National Union Textile Garment Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (Adire Sector).

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From left: Former MD, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan; Former Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Ade Ayeyemi; Former MD, Bank of Industry, Evelyn Oputu; MD/Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal and President, Africa Fintech Network, Dr. Segun Aina, during Ecobank’s Adire Experience in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Managing Director and Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal, said the bank’s support for Adire textile was a demonstration of its commitment to supporting MSME growth in Nigeria, stressing that the bank was impressed and motivated by the phenomenal success of the maiden edition held last year.

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“We believe that through this event we are showcasing the enormous potentials in Adire fabrics. If you look at what Ghana has done with kente and America with jeans, we want to promote adire as a Nigerian clothing brand to the world,” he stated.

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Speaking in the same light, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Kola Adeleke noted that the bank’s support was to connect the SMEs to the world and play in the AfCFTA landscape, stating that with the bank’s footprint in Africa and unified payment system, it was capable of taking adire to the world stage.

He said: “Ecobank has the largest presence in Africa. We have presence in 33 countries in Africa. That gives us the opportunity and advantage to connect African businesses across the continent. When you look at the impact, we are making in the SME sector in the country, there is a need to deepen the opportunities in the market. Producing quality products will give our Nigerian producers the opportunity to sell their products to other Africans across the continent.”

Adeleke also pointed out that the bank’s support for Adire goes beyond exhibition but supporting the producers to play in the international market. “Ecobank has a single market app which we have built. Our customers can onboard and on the app; they can advertise their products.

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“This app is accessible to other Africans across the continent. So, this is the kind of support that we are looking at beyond providing the normal financial advisory services but connect entrepreneurs across the world.”

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On her part, Head, Consumer Banking, Mrs. Korede Demola-Adeniyi, said the exhibition is part of the bank’s contribution to boost the nation’s tourism, culture and the creative industry using Adire as a key driver, adding that the bank was impressed with the turnout of high-profile exhibitors, vendors, dignitaries from different parts of the world.

“The bank is encouraged with the success of the maiden edition which took place last year. It is in line with our brand promise as a pan-African institution to promote culture and boost tourism on the continent. We are impressed with the patronage and interest shown by exhibitors and dignitaries from all walks of life.”

“The three-day event also featured a series of master classes as well as networking opportunities with entrepreneurs, shoppers and everyone interested in the making or trading of Adire,” she said.

Exhibitors, shoppers and vendors commended Ecobank for the initiative, urging the financial institution to make it an annual event as earlier promised.

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Ismail Aniemu

Ismail Aniemu, Publisher of JournalNG and ghost writer, is a maritime journalist of over two decades' of practice with multidisciplinary background. He holds a masters degree in Transport Management from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology(LAUTECH) with bias for logistics. He is also an alumnus of the Times Journalism Institute where he obtained a post graduate diploma in Journalism. Email: ismail.aniemu@aol.com

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