by Nnamdi Odumody
Nnewi, a town in Anambra, South Eastern Nigeria is famous for the enterprising spirit of its inhabitants which has earned them fame as one of Africa’s cities with a high per capita of millionaires and multimillionaires in dollars.
Spend time with an Arochukwu/Ohafia (Abia) or Nnewi (Anambra) boy under apprenticeship and see the level of dedication. They build their masters and their masters make them.
Today, Nnewi is the most industrious tribe in Africa and has the largest concentration of millionaires per capita. A land where secondary school dropouts control factories and empires. While we celebrate the founder of Innoson Motors [never attended any university] for establishing the largest indigenous auto plant in Nigeria, he would continue to celebrate his masters.
The town is home to the biggest cluster for automotive industries in Nigeria as most of its entrepreneurs are involved in the production and other activities along the value chain. But in comparison with other global auto clusters, Nnewi doesn’t fare all and this can be attributed to lack of support from the government in provision of infrastructure and other things which can make the city globally competitive.
Recently, a lawmaker representing Nnewi North and South Federal Constituency, Hon Chris Azubogu, in conjunction with the National Automotive Design and Development Council has begun the development of an Industrial Park in Nnewi South which will be the new home of the automakers based in the ancient community.
On completion, the Anambra State Government should partner with the Federal Government to make the industrial park a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
A special economic zone is an area in which the business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country. SEZs are located within a country’s national borders, and their aims include increased trade balance, employment, increased investment, job creation and effective administration.
This is important as some of the parts used in the production of vehicles and other automotive systems in the Nnewi cluster are imported from foreign countries. Doing the SEZ will attract companies from across the globe with supply chain services tailored for vehicle manufacturers, to set up shop in the industrial park, and in the process aid the local players to integrate world class design and production. As the virtuoso circle happens, Nnewi will produce vehicles which will cope with the demands of domestic and foreign consumers of the 21st century.
Also, software designers will flock to the zone to aid the local manufacturers with the creation of intelligent vehicles. This will lead to enormous job creation for the youth and contribute significantly to the GDP of the state and nation. Largely, making Nnewi a SEZ for automobile sector is urgently needed.