Contact: Kim Pettit
ChristianTrade Association International
+1 (719) 432-8428
On April 12 and 13 in Lagos, 118 Nigerian Christian publishers, distributors and retailers from 79 companies met with Christian suppliers from China, Denmark, South Africa, and the U.S. as part of Marketsquare Africa 2010, a three-country convention organized by ChristianTrade Association International.
“It was standing-room only,” says Modupe Ehirim, president of CBA Nigeria and the committee that organized Marketsquare Africa in Lagos. “We thought we were being optimistic, but the attendance far surpassed our expectations.”
Interest in the event underscores the growth projected for the Christian trade in this market where the church is growing at an explosive rate. “We have had an economic downturn,” says Ehirim, “but even so, our market has not been saturated. We have not made a dent yet. There is are a great need for more Christian books and materials for our shops.” Most attendees came from Lagos, but Ehirim states, “In another three years we should have 100 bookstores beyond Lagos that can begin to fulfill local demand. Then, importers will begin to chase us!”
“The opportunities in Nigeria are incredible,” says Kim Pettit, ChristianTrade director. “It is a high-risk environment, but suppliers around the world need to be aware of the possibilities that exist in this market.”
“We’ve broken new ground here,” said Mary Moore, international sales director for Pennsylvania-based publisher Destiny Image. “In two years we will see that today made a difference. The workshops have been invaluable. As a result, booksellers and publishers will be more open to unified efforts to build the body of Christ.”
Moore was one of 14 exhibitors representing 20 Christian suppliers. Marketsquare Africa in Nigeria featured AMG Publishers, B&H Publishing, Baker, Barbour, Crossway, Destiny Image, Great Value Books, Kingneed, Kregel, Living Products, Moody, NavPress, Oasis, Rollins Pilot, Scandinavia Publishing House, Strang, Swanson, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, and Whitaker House.
Foreign exhibitors were given the opportunity to visit the largest distributorships in Lagos. “It has been a tremendous eye-opener,” says Ehirim. “When they visited Bible Wonderland, Laterna, Edysyl, Chosen, Precious, and other operations, they were just wowed. It was important for our visitors to see the structures on the ground, the merchandising. They were glad to meet our people.”
Attendees and visitors were also challenged with the Word. “Jesus says that you are the salt of the earth,” said Rev. Dr. Fred B. Odutola, general secretary and chief executive officer of the Bible Society of Nigeria, speaking at the 12 April Marketsquare Africa banquet. “What changes have the Christian resources we distribute made in our own lives as distributors? What we distribute should have a positive effect in our lives before we can prayerfully and successfully recommend the same to others,” he added. “That is how we should present Christ.”
ChristianTrade chairman Sylvester Ejeh of Edysyl Christian Bookshops Limited expressed his satisfaction with the event. “We were very pleased with Marketsquare Africa – Nigeria,” says Ejeh. “We see this as an opportunity to strengthen ties between Nigerian and international suppliers for the benefit of God’s kingdom worldwide and our common call to fulfill the Great Commission.”
“We have had excellent feedback,” agrees Jim Powell, ChristianTrade president. “There is a lot of support for holding Marketsquare Africa again. I am very encouraged by this!”
ChristianTrade Association International is a worldwide association of nations, companies, and individuals committed to fulfilling the Great Commission by distributing Christian resources. It holds international regional conventions in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America; publishes an annual Christian-trade directory; hosts international events at CBA’s International Christian Retail Show; and serves as a catalyst for growing the Christian trade worldwide. For more information about exhibiting or sponsoring at next year’s show, please contact Kim Pettit (+1-719-432-8428 or kpettit@ChristianTrade.com). For more information about ChristianTrade activities, please visit www.ChristianTrade.com or e-mail info@ChristianTrade.com.