Nigeria is home to some of the biggest markets in West Africa serving its citizens and neighbouring countries. Some of the major trading hubs are Onitsha Market, Balogun Market (Lagos), Oshodi Market (Lagos), Computer Village and the grandest of them all, Aba Market.
Located at the commercial nerve centre in Aba, Abia State in Nigeria, Ariaria International Market, popularly called ‘Aba Market’ currently serves an estimated two million traders.
It is said to be the largest market in West Africa, particularly for its leather works and clothing which accounts for a large proportion of the market. For this reason, it is called ‘China of Africa’.
The market dates to history following a fire outbreak that razed the ancient Ekeoha Market in Aba. It was after then that the market was established around the 1970’s. It was formerly located in a swampy area before it was relocated to the current site – a very large expanse of land in Aba.
The market cuts across three local government areas, the Aba North, Aba South and Osisioma, all of which have both buyers and sellers meeting there for commerce – unifying the people who patronise it. The market grew to become a one-stop market where traders across different states in Nigeria, especially down
south Nigeria would go and buy wholesale stock and resell at great prices in other markets.
The international market has over 37,000 shops that were structured into 11 different sections with several trading activities going on there like tailoring, textile, footwear production, pharmaceuticals, printing, leather works, fabrication of tools, and mechanical parts, to mention but a few. More importantly, the market is the leather works capital of West Africa.
Manufacturers in the market boast of their client base which extends beyond the shores of Africa. The market also serves as a trade confluence for neighbouring cities and state like Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Rivers, and all the eastern states, producing strong and durable shoes at a lower prices compared to other states in Nigeria and in West Africa…
Editor’s Note: Read the rest of the story in the latest edition of Business Elites Africa magazine here: Find it on pages 28-30.