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Nnewi: ‘The Japan of Africa’

Post on 15 December 2014
by Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
in News
Nnewi: ‘The Japan of Africa’

Nnewi is the second largest urban space in Anambra State in southeastern Nigeria. Nnewi as a metropolitan city encompasses two local government areas, Nnewi North and Nnewi South; Nnewi North is commonly referred to as Nnewi central, and comprises four autonomous quarters: Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim, and Nnewi-ichi. Nnewi North also includes Ichi, an autonomous neighbouring town.

Nnewi is referred to as the Japan of Africa, as it is home to many major indigenous manufacturing industries including Ibeto Group of Companies, Cutix and ADswitch, Uru Industries Ltd, Omata Holdings Ltd, Cento Group of Companies, Coscharis of Companies Group, Innoson Group of Companies, Ebunso Nig. Ltd, John White Industries, Ejiamatu Group of Companies, Chicason Group, Louis Carter Group, etc. The great majority of industrialists in the cluster of spare parts factories in Nnewi are also traders and most of these traders are producing one or more of the products.

Over the last decade, the town of Nnewi has experienced relatively rapid industrialization. In excess of 20 medium-to-large-scale industries have been established across a variety of sectors. Since 1970, Nnewi residents have controlled approximately 80 to 90 percent of the motor-parts trade in Nigeria. Nkwo Nnewi Market is the major import and wholesale point for motor spare parts in Nigeria. The industrialists of Nnewi are adapting foreign technology to local needs, providing employment for thousands, and making available goods and services that meet the actual needs of  Nigerian citizens. The first indigenous car manufacturing plant is located in the city, (owned by Innoson Group) while the first wholly Made-in-Nigeria motorcycle was manufactured in Nnewi by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

Nnewi is known for the vibrant auto industry in the town. The first Igbo man to own and drive a car was HRH Igwe Orizu I (Eze Ugbo Onya Mba) in 1912. By 1940, Nnewi residents were at the center of an international trading network that dominated the supply of motor spare parts in Nigeria. The town subsequently became a center for commerce and industry, and has one of the largest automotive parts markets in Africa. Nnewi is an authentic “manufacturing miracle.” Small and medium sized industries have set up in the town and are producing not only for Nigerian markets but – albeit still to a limited extent – for markets abroad.

 There are several auto and motorcycle spare parts dealers in Nnewi; the Nnewi Motorcycle spare parts market is well known throughout West Africa.