Speech from the CFO of Lauok Africa. The time is now.

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Conference room --- Image by © Rachel Frank/Corbis

Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Toyota, Mercedes Benz, Sony, Louis Vuitton, Gucci etc. What do all these companies have in common? 2 things, they are all big brands and none of them are made in Nigeria or even Africa. In the last 3 centuries, businesses have transformed from sole proprietorship to partnership to small scale limited liability companies to national corporations to multinationals and now transnationals. But how many businesses in Nigeria have moved past the 1st stage? How far have the rest gone in climbing the ranks? It is such a pity that in 2015 we can still count in a single hand all the big national brands in the country. Many of which are nothing but local champions!

Close up of key in a front door --- Image by © James French/Image Source/Corbis
Close up of key in a front door — Image by © James French/Image Source/Corbis

The time has passed where businesses competed with their neighbors. Today we have a firm in one continent competing with a company in another continent for consumers in a different continent. A good example is Apple of USA (North America) competing with Samsung of South Korea (Asia) for the large technology consumer market in Nigeria (Africa). The question then is, who are we Nigerians competing with? What are we doing? Is the country still fixated on the “I pass my neighbor” mentality while the world flies past us? The world is now a global market and we must treat it as such. We must seize to be short sighted and start producing, creating, innovating and providing goods and services that can rival the best companies anywhere in the world.

We say regularly, they are bigger than us, stronger than us, richer than us, more intelligent than us etc. We never seem to run out of excuses, they flow like the stream and run deeper than the ocean. Only cowards are too scared to face a challenge. If we believe in our ability, we can surely find a way to compete and stand out. We have one head, two hands, two legs and one brain as they do, yet we feel as if we are inferior creatures.

Only the greedy receives but never gives. When we are hungry, we import food. We are naked, we import clothes. We are sick, we import medicines. We are insecure, we beg for security. All we ever do is take and take but we never give back. They say “too whom much is given, much more is expected”. Africa is blessed with rich human and natural resources unfortunately we do nothing with them. We wait for the westerners who have little to come to Africa, take the best we have for keeps at little or no cost and sell the worst back to us at sky high prices. We let them do the thinking and reap the benefits while we do the watching and suffer the consequences. Imagine a country like France with no crude oil being the birthplace of one of the biggest oil companies in the world named Total. What more do you expect from countries like Nigeria, Angola and Libya that have been blessed with excess crude oil? What we have gotten is arrant laziness and no zeal for smart work which begets success.

 

It is time for Africa to wake up from its slumber. It is time for Nigerian businesses to be committed to delivering high quality goods and services and cut off once and for the damning synonymy for “made in Nigeria” products to be seen as an alternative name for “fake products”. The time has come for Nigeria companies to adopt globally accepted practices and for “made in Nigeria” products to be classified among globally accepted products. It is time for Nigerian consumers to patronize their own locally made products because in truth we cannot grow without the help of one another. The public plays a major role in the survival and success of any business entity. My way may not be your way and your way may differ from your neighbor’s way. We all have our different roles to play in developing Nigeria’s economy and at Lauok Africa, our way is through FASHION.

We at Lauok Africa have woken up and we shall sleep no more. The time has come for Nigeria and Africa to embolden its map and dominate its territory on the fashion world. The time has come for Africa to be equally represented in top global fashion events as other continents.

Our vision at Lauok is to be the leading fashion brand first in Africa and then in the world. We want Lauok to be seen not just as a popular brand or a luxury brand but more importantly as a QUALITY BRAND. That is why at Lauok Africa, we never compromise on quality.

Our products range from clothing to footwear to apparels and accessories and are traded exclusively on our online platform Lauok.com. Our designs are original and inspired by African culture. Our service style is personalized and every detail on our products are in line with our customer’s preferences. With every product we deliver, we aim to push the boundaries of fashion beyond imagination and express undeniably that creativity and ingenuity truly resides in Africa.

Thank you.

Written by:

Emeka Ucheaga

CFO Lauok Africa

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