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The Japan of Africa: International Footwear Giant Sets Up Factory in Abia State

Abia State, June 5, 2024 – Comfort Stevens Industries, a groundbreaking collaboration between US, Chinese, and Brazilian companies, has announced ambitious plans to establish a state-of-the-art footwear factory in Owerrinta, Abia State. The announcement was made by Dr. John Nwankwo, CEO of Comfort Stevens, during a high-profile meeting with the Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, on Wednesday.

The new factory, poised to be a game-changer in local manufacturing, is set to have a daily production capacity of 15,000 shoes. This significant venture aims to bolster the “Made-in-Aba” brand, create substantial employment opportunities, and drive economic growth in the region.

“We are thrilled to launch this project in Abia State, which has a rich history and reputation for quality craftsmanship in the footwear industry,” stated Dr. Nwankwo. “Our goal is to harness this local expertise, enhance it with advanced technology, and scale up production to meet both domestic and international demand.”

Mr. Levi Sotomayor, a key foreign partner, highlighted the crucial role of public-private partnerships in the success of such large-scale projects. He announced plans to establish an artisan academy as part of the factory complex, which will facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology, enhance local manufacturing capabilities, and support the large-scale export of finished leather products.

“This academy will serve as a center of excellence for training local artisans, ensuring that they are equipped with the latest skills and technologies,” Sotomayor explained. “It’s not just about manufacturing shoes; it’s about creating a sustainable ecosystem that supports the growth and development of the local footwear industry.”

Mr. Hon Chik, another international partner, echoed these sentiments, expressing confidence in the project’s potential to integrate Abia State into the global footwear industry. “This initiative holds substantial promise for the region, placing it on the global map as a significant player in the footwear sector,” he said.

Governor Otti warmly welcomed the investment, reaffirming his administration’s commitment to revitalizing local manufacturing and fostering a business-friendly environment. He praised the resilience and craftsmanship of Aba’s existing shoemakers and highlighted the government’s focus on job creation.

“One of our administration’s top priorities is job creation for our youth,” Governor Otti stated. “We are eager to collaborate with Comfort Stevens to establish an academy that will enhance the skills of our shoemakers. Introducing modern technology and providing the necessary tools and training will significantly improve their productivity and output.”

Governor Otti also assured that the government would ensure a steady power supply to the Owerrinta factory and noted ongoing infrastructure improvements, such as the dualization of the road from Imo River to Umuikaa Junction, to facilitate seamless transportation.

The establishment of Comfort Stevens Industries in Abia State marks a significant milestone in the region’s industrial development, promising a brighter economic future and reinforcing Abia’s reputation as the “Japan of Africa” in the footwear industry.

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