Enugu - Economy


See also: Economy of Nigeria

Nicknamed the Coal City, Enugu's economy in the early 20th century depended on coal mining in the Udi plateau; this industry was the pushing force towards the city's growth. The Nigerian Coal Corporation has been based in Enugu since its creation in 1950 where it controlled coal mining. With the creation of the Eastern Line, Enugu was connected with the sea via Port Harcourt to its south and later connected to the city of Kaduna to Enugu's north. The Biafran war brought widespread devastation that forced a decline in coal production from damage or destruction of equipment. As of 2005 coal mining is no longer the major source of income and mines lay unused. Other minerals mined in Enugu include iron ore, limestone, fine clay, marble, and silica sand.

In Enugu most goods are sold in open markets or by street hawkers; a significant number of street hawkers in Nigeria are children. As of 2003, around 44 under-16-year-olds (equally boys and girls) hawk on every street on every hour in Enugu. There are three main urban markets in Enugu: Ogbete Market, Awkunanaw Market and New Market. New Market is a major market for the sale of garri. Ogbete market is patronised by merchants from all over the surrounding area, including merchants from cities like Onitsha, Aguleri, Abakaliki and Aba. In Ogebete market non-food goods are also sold. Brewing and soft-drink bottling are among other industries in the city; there is also a Mercedes assembly plant as well as the production and manufacturing of machinery, pottery, tiles, steel, cement, asbestos, petroleum, and pharmaceuticals. For a period of time Sosoliso Airlines had its head office on the grounds of Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.

The former Eastern Region was once famed for producing half the world's total output of palm kernels. Since the Nigerian-Biafran War production has markedly declined largely because the plantations and processing equipment were either damaged or destroyed. The production of other important cash crops such as cocoa, groundnut and groundnut oil, rubber, cassava, cotton and cotton seed and timber tumbled after the civil war and the subsequent oil boom years. Consequently, the area called Enugu State as well as the rest of Nigeria, which was once a self-sufficient net exporter in agricultural produce, must import food.

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