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The small-scale businesses are recognized as integral component of economic development and a crucial element in the effort to lift countries out of poverty. They are the driving force for economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction in developing countries. They have been the means through which accelerated economic growth and rapid industrialization have been achieved. Furthermore, small scale businesses have been recognized as a feeder service to large-scale industries. While the contributions of small businesses to development are generally acknowledged, entrepreneurs in this sector face many challenges that limit their long-term survival, growth and development. Some researches into small-business development have shown that the rate of failure of small scale businesses in developing countries is higher than in the developed world as a result of inadequate support and incentive programmes by financial institutions. This thesis assesses the contributions of Union Bank Nigeria Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc on the development and growth of small-scale businesses in Abia State. In this study, five research objectives were indentified which includes: to highlight the roles of small-scale businesses in economic development; to examine the various challenges facing small scale businesses operating in Abia State; to determine the various measures that can be introduced by the banks to boost the operations of small scale businesses in Abia State, among others. Also, five research questions were posed and five research hypotheses were formulated respectively. The researcher adopted survey design. Data were collected from the staff of the two selected banks and operators of small-scale businesses in Ariaria International Market located in Aba City, Abia State using questionnaire. Observations were also done. Using Taro Yamane formula, 276 sample size was drawn from 891 population under study. However, 250 copies of questionnaire retrieved were used for the analyses of data. The instrument was validated using the construct validity and Cronbach alpha for the reliability. All the Hypotheses were tested with Correlation analyses and Simple Linear Regression, while ANOVA and T test analyses were used to analyze all the data. Results of the study among others principally show that there are roles played by small-scale businesses in economic development; there are significant challenges facing small scale businesses operating in Abia State, there are positive measures that can be introduced by the banks to boost the operations of small scale businesses in Abia State, there are federal government activities and policies that affect small-scale businesses in Nigeria among others. The above results led to the recommendations that Union Bank Nigeria Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc should endeavour to maintain their significant assistance which aids in the promotion of small-scale businesses in Abia State and other banks should join forces with Union Bank Nigeria Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc, through their lending activities, to see to the development and growth of small-scale businesses in Abia State, Nigeria.



Banks, Assessment, Contributions, Development, Growth, Small-scale businesses.



Title Page                                                                                                                                i

Declaration                                                                                                                             ii

Certification                                                                                                                           iii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iv

Acknowledgements                                                                                                                v

List of Tables                                                                                                                          vi

List of Figures                                                                                                                         vii

Abstract                                                                                                                                  viii

CHAPTER 1 Introduction                                                    

1.1       Background of the Study                                                                                            1

1.2       Statement of the Problem                                                                                           3

1.3       Objectives of the Study                                                                                              5

1.4       Research Questions                                                                                                    5

1.5       Research Hypotheses                                                                                                  6

1.6       Significance of the Study                                                                                          6

1.7       Scope of the Study                                                                                                      7

1.8       Limitations of the Study                                                                                             7

1.9       Operational Definition of Terms                                                                                8

1.10     Brief history of the organizations                                                                               9

1.10.1  Union Bank Nigeria Plc                                                                                             9

1.10.2  Ariaria international market, Aba, Abia State                                                            12



2.1       Conceptual Framework                                                                                              15

2.1.1    Concept of small scale business                                                                                  15

2.1.2    Classifications of small scale businesses in Nigeria                                                             19

2.1.3    Characteristics of small scale businesses                                                                    20

2.1.4    Functions of small scale business operators                                                            21

2.1.5    The Dark side of small-scale business operations                                                      23

2.1.6    Advantages of small scale businesses to the owners and others                               26

2.1.7    Roles of small scale businesses in economic development                                        27

2.1.8    Problems/constraints/pitfalls of small scale businesses in abia state                                    28

2.1.9    Contributions of Union Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank to the Growth and

development of small scale businesses in abia state.                                                29


2.2       Theoretical Framework                                                                                              32



2.3       Empirical Review                                                                                                       41


2.4       Gap in Literature                                                                                                        51



2.5       Summary of Literature Review                                                                                  52



CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY                             

3.1         Research Design                                                                                                         54

3.2         Sources of Data                                                                                                          54

3.3         Methods of Data Collection                                                                                       54

3.4         Population of the Study                                                                                              54

3.5         Sample Size Determination                                                                                        55

3.6         Sampling Technique                                                                                                   55

3.7         Description of the Research Instruments                                                                   56

3.8         Validity of the Instruments                                                                                         56

3.9         Reliability of the Instruments                                                                                     56       

3.10       Methods of Data Analyses                                                                                          57



4.1         Questionnaire Distribution and Return Rate                                                              58

4.2         Data Presentation                                                                                                        59

4.3         Test of Hypotheses                                                                                                     66

4.4         Discussion of Results                                                                                                 75


5.1         Summary of Findings                                                                                                 65

5.2         Conclusion                                                                                                                  65

5.3         Recommendations                                                                                                      66

5.4         Areas of Further Studies                                                                                             67

              References                                                                                                                  68

              Appendices                                                                                                                 72









2.1:           Comparison of small firms in the UK and low income countries                     51

3.1:                  Reliability Statistics                                                                                       56

4.1:        Table showing the distribution and retrieval of questionnaires                                     58

4.2:        Demographic data of Respondents                                                                           59

4.3:      Distribution of Present Academic Qualifications of the Respondents                66

4.4:                  Distribution of Job Position of the Respondents                                            67


4.5:                  Distribution of Job status/levels of the Respondents                                      68

4.6:                  Distribution of Job/business experience of the Respondents                            69


4.7:      Distribution of the Respondents by workplace                                                          70

4.8:         Correlation Result of hypothesis 1                                                                          71

4.9:         Correlation Result of hypothesis 2                                                                          72

4.10:       Correlation Result of hypothesis 3                                                                          72

4.11:       Simple Linear Regression Result of hypothesis 4                                                   73

4.11:       Model Summaryb                                                                                                       73

4.12:       ANOVA table                                                                                                          73

4.12:       Coefficients                                                                                                             74

4.13:       ANOVA table                                                                                                          75

4.14:       Coefficients                                                                                                             75












Over the years, the small scale businesses of the Nigerian economy has been facing problems of slow or stagnating development. This problem has continued to serve as a cog in the wheel of progress of the overall economic development in the country. This stampede of the growth of small scale businesses in Nigeria is now threatening to deprive the nation of the much needed benefits of poverty reduction, employment generation and wealth creation, which by implication should have set the country's ball rolling for sustainable growth and development (Agu, 2005). One major problem, which is indisputable in all quarters, is the lack of sufficient fund to set up and run small businesses. Lack of funds and access to credit facilities are significant obstacles to the development and sustainability of small scale businesses that discourage those with entrepreneurial skills to join the chariot. Small scale businesses seeking bank loans face considerable credit constraints in that they receive credit much less frequently than larger ones. It is also known that many entrepreneurs would like to start up their businesses, but refrain from doing so due to the lack of credit to finance their initial or subsequent operations.

Chukwuemeka (2011) opines that for any business to grow, credit is essential; lack of credit is a barrier to the development and growth of the incomes of households and small scale businesses. Access to credit enhances the adoption of new and more advanced technologies that will enable the small scale businesses expand their agricultural and nonagricultural enterprises, which in turn improve their income levels, and hence help in reducing the incidence of poverty (Abubakar, 2011). Despite the fact that credit has been recognized as an essential tool for promoting small scale businesses, savings also plays an important role next to credit (Olaitan, 2006). Generally, the savings culture in Nigeria, particularly among small scale businesses in rural dwellings is low, as such mobilizing start up and operational capital by small scale businesses is always a difficult task. The significance of savings on the advancement of small scale businesses is very profound. With more financial savings and credit facilities, small scale businesses stand a good chance to accumulate huge capitals, and therefore greater capability for self-investment is enhanced; the need to borrow at high interest rates from private money lenders is reduced and the ability to purchase more productive assets improved. The recent shift in terms from micro-credit to micro-finance reflect that both loans and saving services may help to improve the wellbeing of small scale businesses (Vonderlack, 2001). According to the World Bank Report (2009) cited in Maksudova (2009), around 1.4 billion people globally live on less than one dollar per day, facing poverty, social and financial exclusion, while recent economic crisis has thrown millions into extreme poverty. In emerging economies like Nigeria, government embarks on a series of policies and institutional reforms aimed at enhancing the flow of financing from the Banking system to small scale businesses, as well as those involved in the petty business (micro) activities at the informal level. In particular, the important objective of boosting the performance of small scale business activities has not materialized. This is because commercial banks like Union Bank Nigeria Plc., and Fidelity Bank Plc, perceive micro-activities of small scale businesses as bad risks (Akinboyo, 2007).


The Nigeria economy, being capitalist oriented is driven by the principles and practices of the market economy. As opine by Anyanwu (2004), the unwillingness or inability of the formal financial institutions like Union Bank Nigeria Plc., and Fidelity Bank Plc respectively, to provide financial services to small scale businesses, coupled with the lack of sustainability of government sponsored development financial schemes has not contributed to the growth of small scale businesses in Nigeria. Before the emergence of big financial institutions, formal microfinance institutions and informal microfinance activities flourished all over the country and operated under different names. Informal microfinance is provided by traditional groups that work together for the mutual benefits of their members. These groups provide savings and credit services to their members. Yet, little impact is felt by their services. It therefore becomes pertinent that big financial giants like Union Bank Nigeria Plc., and Fidelity Bank Plc should answer the clarion call of these various small scale businesses to contribute to their growth, survival and development. It is against this backdrop that this research work is resting.



No one needs any prophet to acknowledge that small scale businesses play major roles in the sustenance and development of the local, state and national economy. Agbaeze (2007) postulates that small businesses also play vital roles in the sustainability of the big ones and that some small scale businesses can evolve into corporate giants. Unfortunately, in developing countries like Nigeria, smallness in business has no sustaining appeal. Chukwuemeka (2011) observes that in Nigeria, we think big and boast beyond our capabilities, hence we denigrate small scale businesses; we only see the negative aspects of smallness and hardly recognize that Rome was not built in a day. Businesses of small size require small capital for a take off. On the aggregate, it has the widest scope in national coverage and maximizes the effective use of the nation’s resources in the production of many and diverse types of goods and services for national economic growth. The researcher has observed with concern that these roles have not been adequately cherished by the national government, no wonder many of them are degenerating. Like any other business, small scale businesses cannot be carried on extensively unless funds are available for procurement of the necessary inputs as well as the maintenance of the businesses. The fund provided by the owner (owner capital) may not be enough to carry on the business operations. Small scale businesses therefore need assistances from various sources, especially, from financial institutions like Union Bank Nigeria Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc. These gigantic banks can go a long way to ensure that they supply the needed credit facilities at a reduced rate that will assist the small scale businesses to be in existence. Three types of credit are usually required: short-term credit, medium term credit and long term credit. The short-term credit or loan is one that is used for yearly operation until the products or proceeds from the business are sold. The amount involved is usually small. The medium term credit is the type of loan that is for more than one year maturity period but not exceeding three to five years. This is mostly required for acquisition of inexpensive equipment with relatively short life span. The long term loan is a type of credit that is necessary for acquisition of major industrial machines, improvements on industrial equipment building and land. (Adopted from Union Bank Plc Bulletin, 2016).

Credit facilities for small scale businesses can be a very powerful instrument in bringing about a revolution in industrial practices and in productivity especially if supplied in sufficient quantity and used efficiently. However, the problem of credit to small scale businesses may not necessarily be as a result of financing insufficiency but rather for some, other reasons among which are insufficient preparation on the part of the small scale entrepreneur in the request for credit assistance, information gaps as to range of funding institutions and scope of services available in these institutions, the risky nature of servicing small scale businesses and the likes. It is a well known fact that the development of small scale businesses and attainment of self reliance in industrial production coupled with the provision of raw materials for other industries or businesses should be among the top priorities of the federal government of Nigeria. In addition, the continuous escalation of Nigeria’s Import Bill and unemployment are threats to the country. The researcher therefore identifies the above problems faced by small scale businesses and considers it necessary to carry out a study on them.



The major objective of this study is to determine the extent to which Union Bank Nigeria Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc have contributed to the growth and development of small-scale businesses in Abia State. However, it is set to achieve the following specific objectives:

i.          To highlight the roles of small-scale businesses in economic development.

ii.         To examine the various challenges facing small scale businesses operating in Abia State.

iii.        To determine the various measures that can be introduced by the banks to boost the operations of small scale businesses in Abia State.

iv.        To identify the federal government activities and policies and how they affect small-scale businesses in Nigeria.

v.         To examine how the banks can assist in the promotion of small scale businesses in Abia State.



Emanating from the objectives above, the following research questions were posed:

i.          What are the roles of small-scale businesses in economic development?

ii.         What are the various challenges facing small scale businesses operating in Abia State?

iii.        What are the various measures that can be introduced by the banks to boost the operations of small scale businesses in Abia State?

iv.        How does the programmes and policies of the federal government affect small-scale businesses in Nigeria?

v.         How can the banks assist in the promotion of small scale businesses in Abia State?



In pursuance of the above stated objectives and research questions posed, the following research hypotheses were formulated:

Ho1:     There are no roles played by small-scale businesses in economic development.

Ho2:     There are no significant challenges facing small scale businesses operating in Abia State.

Ho3:     There are no measures that can be introduced by the banks to boost the operations of small scale businesses in Abia State.

Ho4      The federal government programmes and policies do not affect small-scale businesses in Nigeria.

Ho5:     There is no significant assistance from the banks in the promotion of small scale businesses in Abia State.



This research work was very significant in a number of ways. First, it will expose the enormous benefits derivable from the operations of small scale businesses in Abia state and the country as a whole. Therefore, the outcome will put small scale businesses in the limelight of serious business knowing that they are very instrumental tools to the economic development of the nation. This work will no doubt expand the scope of knowledge of the academia on the topic or related topics. This work will guide entrepreneurs on how to approach these banks for credit facilities to run and expand the scope of their small businesses. In addition, this work will spark off the light of increased commitment on the part of financial institutions in their negligent contributions to the growth and development of small scale businesses, not just in a state, but in all the states that make up the federation. Moreso, this work will add to existing stock of knowledge for future researchers on the topic or related topics under study. Finally, this work was of great benefit to the owner of this research work as at will serve as part of the fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science, (M.Sc) in Business Administration. In a nut-shell, this work wasnefit:

a.         Small-scale business operators and entrepreneurs in Abia State on how to access loans from financial institutions like Union Bank Nig Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc.

b.         Research studies as it was used as a reference material on the topic or related topics.

c.         Abia State government to alert them on the challenges of the small-scale business operators and how to assist them.


The study focused on the concept of small business, their classifications, characteristics, advantages, roles in economic development, their constraints/problems, some environmental factors facing small scale businesses or impact their survival, growth and development, the necessary theories backing the topic and the empirical reviews of related concepts of the topic. This work also x-rayed the contributions of Union Bank Nigeria Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc, in the growth and development of small scale businesses including their corporate social responsibility obligations toward small scale businesses in Abia State.  However, this study was carried out in Abia State only and therefore restricted to the operations and contributions of Union Bank Nigeria Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc in Abia State.


A number of limiting factors constrained this research work. This ranged from work schedule to financial constraints to elicit information from the respondents, especially the two banks because it is not easy for financial institutions or their staff to release information about them. However, these limiting factors were overcome to ensure that this work becomes a huge success.



Assessment: This is the ongoing process of gathering information, analyzing and reflecting on evidence to make informed and consistent inference or judgment.

Contributions: This has to do with imposed or required payments. It is payments exacted for special purposes.

Growth: This refers to an economic expansion as measured by any of a number of indicators such as GDP.

Economic growth: This is increase in a country’s productive capacity as measured by the GNP of the previous year.

Development: This is the act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced.

Small scale businesses: These are privately owned partnerships or sole proprietorship that have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized businesses whose total capital outlay is below sixty thousand naira (N60,000) and whose total employment is not more than fifty (50) persons.

Banks: A financial institution that keeps custody of things such as money, guide jewelries, etc. They are institutions responsible for collecting and giving out funds to individuals, firms, organizations, customers on special charges.

Business failure: The inability to sustain the life of a business venture to a very foreseeable extent.

Financial institutions: Are institutions responsible for collecting and giving out funds to individuals, firms, organizations, etc for business purposes.

Grant: It is a financial assistance by financial institutions or government to individuals or investors which is not repayable.

Loan: Are financial assistance by financial institution to borrowers with interest attached. It is repayable and collateral is required before the financial institution can grant them.

Overdraft: It is a kind of loan granted by banks, but before this loan is granted, the person who wants the loan must have account where an account holder withdraws above the amount he/she has in his/her account.




1.10.1  Union Bank Nigeria Plc

The rich history of Union Bank Nigeria Plc can be traced to 1917 when it was first established as colonial bank and was acquired by Barclays Bank of London in 1925. As a result of the acquisition, the bank was renamed Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas), Barclays Bank (DCO) to reflect the new ownership structure. Following Nigeria’s independence and the enactment of the Corporate Affairs in 1968, the bank was incorporated as Barclays Bank of Nigeria Limited in 1969 (BBNL), to comply with the new banking regulations adopted in 1968. Between 1971 and 1979, the bank went through a series of changes including its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and share acquisition/transfers driven by the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Acts of 1972 and 1977. This resulted in its evolution into a new wholly Nigerian owned entity. To reflect the new ownership structure and in compliance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990, it assumed the name Union Bank Nigeria Plc, (UBN), “The bank” or Union Bank.

In line with its privatization/commercialization drive in 1993, the Federal Government divested by selling its controlling shares (51.67%) to private investors. Thus, Union Bank became fully owned by Nigerian citizens and organizations all within the private sector. During the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) banking sector consolidation policy, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc acquired the former Universal Trust Bank Plc and Broad Bank Ltd and absorbed its one-time subsidiary, Union Merchant Bank Ltd. Following the banking crisis in 2009 and the intervention of the CBN via Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), the bank was recapitalized in 2012 with an injection of $500 million by Union Global Partners Limited (UGPL), a consortium of local and international investors. UPGL acquired 65% of the bank’s shareholding and in the last quarter of 2014, AMCON’s remaining 20% stake in the bank was acquired by Atlas Mara. UGPL comprises: Africa Capital Alliance, ADC African Development Corporation, Corsair Capital, FMO (the Netherlands Development Finance Company), Chandler Corporation, Standard Chartered Private Equity. In compliance with CBN’s Regulation, three (3) UBN is divesting of all non-core banking subsidiaries, which aligns with her core banking business model. Union Bank, United Kingdom (UBUK), will remain the only subsidiary of the bank. Union Bank is a large commercial bank, serving individuals, small and medium-sized companies, as well as large corporations and organizations. In July 2009, it was rated the 556th largest bank in the world and the 14th largest bank in Africa. As of June, 2012, the bank’s asset base was estimated at US$6.784 billion (NGN:1.049 trillion. The shareholders equity at that time was estimated at US$1.22 billion (NGN:1.884 billion).


The companies (subsidiaries) that comprise the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc include: Union Bank United Kingdom Plc, Union Homes Savings and Loans Plc, Union Trustees Limited, Union Assurance Company Limited, Banque International du Benin, Cotonou, UTL Communications Services Limited, UBN Property Company Limited, Union Capital Markets Limited, Union Registrars Limited, Union Express Limited (Courier company). Its affiliated companies include: Consolidated Discounts Limited, HFC Bank Ghana Limited, Unique Venture Capital Management Company Limited.

Ownership: The shares of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘UBN’. As at June 2013, the owners of the shares of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc include the following Corporate entities and individuals.

Union Bank of Nigeria Stock Ownership

Rank                                       Name of Owner                                 Percentage ownership

1                                Union Global Partners Limited                                 63.57

2.                               Other investors                                                          15.36

3.                               Asset Management Company of Nigeria                  21.07

Total                                                                                                               100


Union Global Partners Limited is a consortium of financial institutions that include the following: ACA Holdings Limited and ACA Managed Fund, Netherlands Development Finance Company, Standard Chartered Private Equity, Auctor Capital, Carlye Capital of Washington DC, High Vistar, The Keffi Group VIII LLC (Keffi Group, JC Flowers, BGI), African Development Corporation AG and Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Limited, Discovery Group of Connecticut, United States of America, Asset Management Company of Nigeria is an arm of the Federal Government of Nigeria.


Branch network: The bank maintains a vast network of interconnected branches in all Nigerian States. It has two wholly owned bank subsidiaries: one in Cotonou, Benin and another in London, in the United Kingdom. It also maintains a representative office in Johannesburg, South Africa.  


Board of directors: The bank’s activities are supervised by a thirteen-member board of directors.


Management board: The management is chaired by Mr Emeka Emuwa who serves as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank since November, 2012. From then, there have been various innovations to reflect the Nigerian need and service in the bank, for example, the bank has changed its colour from green to skye blue and many other innovations that has transformed the banking activities into modern banking that currently (2016), the bank is rated as the most improved retail bank in Nigeria.


1.10.2  Fidelity Bank of Nigeria Plc

Fidelity Bank of Nigeria was incorporated in the year 1987 and began its operations in 1988. It initially started with a Merchant Banking license, with the objective of positively impacting on the Nigerian economy through participation and contribution to the growth of the Nigerian economy with the provision of quality and timely financial services. Fidelity Bank converted to a commercial bank in the year 1999 in an attempt to grow as a private limited company and became a public limited company also in the year 1999 in the month of August, it rebranded to Fidelity Bank Plc that year. It secured its universal banking license in February 2001 and also obtained its International Banking License in the year 2011. Fidelity Bank Plc has grown to a stable banking institution, during the 2005 Nigerian Banking consolidation, Fidelity Bank Plc acquired FSB International Bank Plc (“FSB”) and Manny Bank Plc to become one of the top financially stabled banks in Nigeria. Fidelity Bank currently has presence in all the states and major cities in Nigeria.  Over the years, the bank has been reputed for it financial stability. Fidelity Bank Plc continues to rank among Nigeria’s most capitalized banks with tier-one capital of nearly USD1 billion (One Billion US Dollars).


Branch network: The bank maintains a vast network of interconnected branches in all Nigerian states and major. It has a wholly owned bank subsidiary in Ghana.



Chairman – Chief (Dr) Christopher Ezeh

Managing Director/CEO – Nnamdi Okonkwo

Deputy Managing Director – Mohammed Balarabe

Executive Director – Aku, P Odinkemelu

Executive Director – Adeyeye Olawale Adepegba

Executive Director – Nneka Chinwe Onyealiikpe


Corporate social responsibility:

Fidelity Bank actively has imbibed its CSR as a core function of its banking services. It established the Fidelity Helping Hands Programme, where its area of focus is education, the environment and the health and social welfare. It has over the years actively engaged and supported through its CSR activities aimed at improving its area of focus through the Fidelity Helping Hands Programme. Its headquarter is at Fidelity Place, 2 Kofo Abayomi Street, Lagos, Nigeria. Its products are loans. Credit cards, savings, investments, mortgages. Its total asset as at 2013 stood at USD46+ billion (NGN:1+ trillion).


Its major milestones/achievements:

In 2011, the bank was ranked the 7th most capitalized bank in Nigeria, the 25th most capitalized bank on the African continent and the 567th most capitalized bank in the world. As of December 2013, Fidelity Bank Plc was a large financial services provider in Nigeria with shareholders’ equity in excess of US$1 billion (NGN:158 billion). At that time, the bank served 2.3 million customers at about 220 branches nationally. Currently, the bank has over 400,000 diverse shareholders. It was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in May 2005 and has consistently paid dividends annually since its listing as of June 20th, 2016 according to BGL Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc had a market capitalization of NGN37,072,109,685.76.

1.10.3  Ariaria international market, Aba, Abia State

Its historical background dated back to 1976 following a fire outbreak that destroyed the old Ekeoha market in Aba. The market was originally sited in a swampy area. The market is known for its shoe making and leather works, thus making it one of the largest leather shoe-making markets in West Africa with an estimated two million traders. The market cuts across three local government areas, the Aba North, Aba South and Osisioma. The market is managed by Abia State Government. The Ariaria International Market is an open-air market located in Aba, a city in Abia State, South Western Nigeria and usually opens from Monday-Saturday.

The market is one of the largest markets in West Africa and nicknamed “China of Africa” because of its versatility in the making of wears and leather works.


Today, the Ariaria market has provided an engine of growth for the economical survival of not just the state where it is situated but for other states who come to buy for resale in their own states. In addition, the market has also provided the source of living to many residents of Aba, Abia State as many of them engage in retailing and wholesaling of goods and services.


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