UNIDO ITPO Italy hosted an official high level institutional visit in Italy of a delegation from Sokoto State, North-Western part of the Nigeria. The mission was led by the Secretary to the State Government Prof. Bashir Garba and counted also on the presence of the new appointed Director of UNIDO ITPO Nigeria, Mrs. Adebisi Olumodimu, a representative of the Field Office UNIDO in Abuja and some local firms operating the leather sector as well. The Nigerian delegation had the aim to deepen the Italian cluster model in the leather industry in order to replicate the experience in Sokoto.
During the first day of mission, the Nigerian delegation visited LINEAPELLE Fair in Milano, one of the most important international exhibition of leather, accessories, components, fabrics, synthetics and models. In this context the institutional representatives from Sokoto State met the representatives of Assomac (Italian Association of Manufacturers of Machinery for Footwear, Leathergoods, Tannery & related accessories) and Unic (Italian Tanners’ Association) with the aim to discuss potential future partnerships. Moreover, they met also many Italian exhibitors operating in the leather sector (mainly chemical products and machinery manufacturers).
In the following days, UNIDO ITPO Italy organized a visit to POLIMODA in Scandicci, near Florence, a well known International Institute of Fashion Design & Marketing. The school offers high quality courses in fashion design, marketing and merchandising sectors of the fashion, paying a special attention regarding the relation with the entrepreneurial world.
Finally, the Nigerian delegation carried out a study tour to the leather district of Santa Croce sull’Arno, in Tuscany, one of the most important leather cluster in Italy together with Arzignano and Solofra. The visit was supported by the presence of experts such as Arch. Sauro di Sandro – Architect and Urban Planner, and Mr. Gabriele D’Elia from Italprogetti SpA. This study tour offered the opportunity to the Nigerian delegation to receive a complete overview of a district that counts more than 400 tanneries, 400 outsourcer businesses and 10.000 employees. Santa Croce sull’Arno represents an Italian industrial excellence considering also the results achieved on the environmental protection (more than 98% of the polluting substances produced by the tanneries is entirely treated) and from the production and export point of view (around 70% of the district revenues originates from the exports).
Nigeria is the main commercial partner for Italy in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa. In addition, it is the first economy in Western Africa and the second in the sub-Saharan Africa, offering increasing opportunities for exportations and investments in many Italian industrial sectors. Another Nigeria’ strength is represented by its growing middle class in a country that represents 20% of the whole population of the African continent. Moreover the close relations with Italy are encouraged by the strong economic and social relations between the two countries. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the newly-opened UNIDO ITPO in Lagos will develop even more political, economic and social exchanges between Nigeria and Italy through mutual visits, high level contacts and the promotion of investment and commercial opportunities in the country.