The long awaited ‘made in’ concept is set to become a reality soon as Sam Hart, Senior Special Assistant to the governor of Abia state, Nigeria announced the launch of on twitter yesterday.

On October 1, the ‘Alibaba of Nigeria’ will officially launch and give the rest of the country access to the products made in Aba.

For those wondering what all the fuss is about. Aba is located in south east Nigeria and has been home to a buoyant community of artisans who have long been known for their ability to imitate western products including bags, belts and shoes.

Japan imitated western good at the start of its industrial revolution; China has also done so in recent times; so thumbs up to the creative minds in Aba who are set to enter the global market place. The reputation of Aba has grown steadily. It has been called the ‘China of Africa’ in certain quarters. The challenge however has always been the following:

1. Access to the market. Only people (mostly wholesalers) who are brave enough take a trip to the Aba neck of the woods.
2. The unbridled appetite for foreign-made products on the part of Nigerians and the perception that goods from Aba were of poor or inferior quality.

So why now? It would appear that the economic challenges currently facing Nigeria; the lack of foreign exchange, has jolted the populace into realising the treasure that lay dormant within the country.

If is properly executed, it will give the Aba-based traders and producers a much larger market to sell to and, most importantly, access to new clientele.

So not only will Nigeria be celebrating its independence day this October 1, but her thirsty population should brace for impact and be ready to buy Naija-made products to their hearts’ content online.

I don’t know about you but I really can’t wait.