To revive the fledgling textile industry, boost the economy and drive tourism traffic to Nigeria, textile and fashion enthusiasts under the auspices of Women in Business and Tourism, (WIBAT), in Nigeria, have concluded plans to hold the first Abuja African Textile and Fashion Expo, (ATFE).
WIBAT president, Mrs Sophia Khan, said the expo will showcase the richness of the Nigerian fabric to the world taking advantage of the government’s drive to diversify the Nigerian economy from oil o tourism to generate revenue, attract investors and make Nigeria a tourism destination as almost all African countries are expected at the event.
Mrs Khan stated this at a media briefing on the on the upcoming expo in Abuja which is set to hold from the 5th- 8th of December at the International Conference Center, (ICC), in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT).
She explained that the idea behind the event is to tell Nigerians and the world that there is a lot to harness in the tourism industry and to also prove that the nation’s sustainability should not be dependent on oil alone but also on tourism, the exportation of made in Nigeria product and showcasing Nigeria’s rich textile”
She said the expo themed ‘Africa to the World’, will also serve as an incubation ground for innovative solutions to the challenges of reviving the textile sector in Nigeria.
“Nigeria had about 250 textile mills today, there are less than 70. The African textile and fashion expo is an avenue to revive the textile mills and by so doing create jobs for the teaming youth. This expo is to tell the federal government that we are in partnership with them to promote the Nigerian textile through export and high patronage from other African countries.
“All the African embassies and their ambassadors will be present and will also exhibit their products. The conference is equipped to showcase key celebrity speakers and foreign celebrity guests,” she said.
Country Representative of the African Tourism Board, Ambassador Chioma Anyiwa, said stressed the need for Nigeria to promote all aspects of tourism such as the educational, historical and cultural aspects of its tourism using textiles.
According to her, “it is time for Nigeria to wake up and woo investors into its tourism sector to boost the economy and make a difference.
Speaking on the importance of Nigeria showcasing its rich textile heritage, the Chairperson, of the Abuja chapter of WIBAT, Adah Rebecca, said “It’s about time we start telling our story, we have allowed people to tell our story for too long and if you have something and you don’t tell the world, it is like you do not know what you have.”
WIBAT’s partner, Gbenga Alaka of Across Africa, noted that Nigeria’s tourism sector has long been neglected but there is a lot to offer the world from the sector.
He said, “to promote made-in-Africa textiles, we need the full partnership of the government and other critical stakeholders like the manufacturers.”