Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie already has an impressive resume. She is the author of five bestselling novels and an ardent feminist activist. But in the past couple of months, she’s added another title: champion for local business. Recently, she started a “Wear Nigerian” campaign that serves just this purpose.
In a Facebook post, Adichie announced her intention to wear almost exclusively Nigerian brands for public appearances. She made this decision after observing, in her words, the “Nigerian government’s disastrous economic policies” that led to a “reduction in the value of the Naira and therefore in disposable income, a change in values, a disorientation of the middle class and most of all, to a debilitating sense of uncertainty.”
Adichie’s Facebook post aptly highlights a problem that the Nigerian government has been grappling with for a while. Between 2015 and 2016, the Naira, Nigeria’s currency, lost 25 percent of its value. Nigeria is rated by the World Bank Doing Business 2017 Report as one of the most difficult countries to do business in. This is largely due to the difficulty of border trade and the lack of reliable infrastructure such as electricity within Nigeria’s borders. Because of these factors, it is difficult for entrepreneurs to start businesses and obtain credit in Nigeria.
Adichie’s Wear Nigerian campaign works to combat this. There is a wide consensus among economists that economic growth starts at a local level. When citizens of Nigeria buy local goods instead of imported goods, the community grows. As the local producers begin to have more income, they invest their extra income in community projects like repairing infrastructure. Thus, it helps everyone to follow Adichie’s Wear Nigerian campaign.
Adichie is also using her platform to convince people that wearing Nigerian-made clothes can be cool. People can see all the styles Adichie is wearing by following her Instagram page, @chimamanda_adichie.
– Adesuwa Agbonile