The Managing Director/Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal has said the support for Adire textile was a demonstration of the bank’s 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.
“We believe that through this event we are showcasing the enormous potentials in adire clothes. 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.
The 3-days Adire exhibition which is the second edition according to the bank is to promote culture, tourism, Micro, Small and medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
It was a beehive of activities and funfair at Ecobank Adire Lagos Experience which took place over the weekend at the sprawling Ecobank Pan African Center (EPAC), Lagos.
Originating from Abeokuta in Southwestern Nigeria, Adire textile is an indigenous indigo-dyed cloth made by using different wax resist 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).
Speaking in the same light, Kola Adeleke, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, observed 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.
According to him, “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 observed 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. 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.”
Mrs Korede Demola-Adeniyi, Head, Consumer Banking, 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.
According to her, “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 3-days event also featured a series of masterclasses as well as networking opportunities with entrepreneurs, shoppers and everyone interested in the making or trading of adire,” she said.
Cross section of exhibitors, shoppers, and vendors were full of praises for Ecobank, urging the Pan African bank to make it an annual event as promised.