[ACCI-CAVIE] PRESIDENT of the Association of African Automotive Manufacturers, AAAM, Mr. Mike Whitefield, has predicted that African automotive market could rise from the current 1.1 million vehicles per annum to five million vehicles a year if Nigeria and other concerned African countries key into the recommended Automobile Industry Development plans recommended by the AAAM.
Whitefield in a statement noted that presently, Africa has only three major automotive manufacturing hubs which are in South Africa and Morocco with Egypt trailing in the third position.
Drawing comparison between Nigeria and South Africa automotive industry, the AAAM boss said that South Africa produced 631,921 vehicles in 2019 and sold 536,612 new vehicles in the country during the same period in contrast to 10,000 new vehicles sold in Nigeria during the same period.
He said: “Between South Africa 631,921, Morocco 394,652 and Egypt 94,000, Africa produced 1.1 million vehicles in 2019.”
According to him, if Nigeria and other concerned African countries keyed into the recommended Automobile Industry Development Plan, the AAAM believes that African automobile market could rise to five million cars a year.
To this end, he said “the key to that is creating automotive hub in Africa, which at the moment would be centered in Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.”
Drawing comparison between the two African largest economies the AAAM boss said: “In comparison with Nigeria, South Africa is a very inspiring example of what a sustainable automotive sector can do in partnership with government and organized labour.
Today, the South African automotive sector directly employs 470,000 people and three times more in value chain. It contributed 7.1 per cent to the GDP in 2019 and earned $14.3 billion through exports.
“The World Bank estimates that the effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, could potentially increase Africa’s combined GDP by US$450-billion by 2035 and lift 100-million people out of poverty by increasing inter-African trade by 80 per cent.
“The automotive sector can also be the critical catalyst for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA, which in itself will be vital to ensuring that the people of this continent can finally break free from the shackles of their past, the poverty and the hopelessness, despite living on a landmass with the vast natural resources that we have.”
“This is one of the reasons the AAAM is working so hard to create a coalition of the willing among African governments to create a sustainable indigenous automotive industry – and working just as closely with the AfCFTA secretariat, positioning the automotive industry as a vanguard for the AfCFTA. Africa will happen; it’s not a question of if but when. “By working together, we can accelerate that, creating an ecosystem that truly lifts people out of poverty, creates hope through trade links and good quality jobs. “But equally, if we miss this opportunity now, we might not be able to achieve this in the future.”
By Theodore Opara