by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – NISSAN believes Africa has the potential as an automotive market.
However, the Japanese firm said if this potential is to be unlocked, all stakeholders have to work together and ultimately ensure the automotive components of the African Continental Free Trade agreement (AfCFTA) are implemented.
Mike Whitfield, the managing director of Nissan Africa, made the sentiments at the recent inaugural South African Auto Week held at the iconic Kyalami Race Track north of Johannesburg.
Whitfield, the president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) was speaking on the topic of “Driving the Development of the Automotive Industry across Africa’.”
“We have to remember that if we look at the future potential market, we have two key manufacturing bases in Morocco and South Africa with Egypt emerging. It’s a huge opportunity for companies in Africa to capitalize on that and participate in the value chain,” Whitfield said.
The continent has only 1 percent of the world’s automotive production but accounts for 17 percent of its population.
On the continent’s transition to new energy vehicles (NEV), Whitfield said undoubtedly, Africa would make the transition but it would not be a journey which it leads.
Instead, this will be a transition which different countries will complete at different times and in different ways.
Whitfield believes the greatest opportunity for Africa is the fact that much of the raw materials essential to the creation of the batteries that power EVs are sourced from Africa.
“Africa can get the benefit of this global trend towards NEV if we add beneficiation to the raw materials that are going to be increasingly in demand across the world,” Whitfield said.
The greatest immediate challenge for Africa though remains the importation of grey vehicles.
Legislation is seen as the only way to police this.
The three biggest markets in Africa – South Arica, Morocco and Egypt -have all passed laws to control this.
– CAJ News