Nissan in deal to work with Ghanaian government. Photo: AP
PRETORIA – Nissan has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ghana in terms of which it has committed to work with the Ghanaian government to establish an automotive manufacturing industry in that country.

The Japanese-based global vehicle manufacturer would also make Ghana its hub for sales and marketing in West Africa.

These announcements were made on Tuesday in Accra, the capital of Ghana, by Nissan Group of Africa managing director Mike Whitfield, who is also managing director of Nissan South Africa, and Ghana's Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen.

The agreement builds on Nissan's investment in Nigeria where the company in 2013 became the first major automaker to assemble cars when the Renault-Nissan alliance and west African conglomerate Stallion Group jointly launched a vehicle assembly operation.

Vehicle sales in Ghana have been growing steadily at an annual rate of about 10 percent, with about 9150 vehicles sold a year.

Whitfield said Nissan aimed to build on its sales market leadership in Ghana and to be the first carmaker to assemble vehicles in that country.

He said Nissan models accounted for 32.8 percent of vehicle sales in Ghana last year, with its cars, pick-ups and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) sold through a national network of six sales and service outlets.

“Nissan is the most popular auto brand in Ghana because the quality of our products and services has won the trust of our customers.

“We want to build on our leadership by supporting the government to create the environment for a successful automotive manufacturing industry.

“Building vehicles in Ghana will enable us to further improve the products and services we offer to our customers here and will have significant, long-term benefits for the economy in terms of jobs and growth.”

Whitfield said establishing a long-term automotive industrial development policy would give investors further confidence in Ghana. “Properly administered automotive development policies can bring about structural economic change in a short time. We've seen this happening with our plants in South Africa and Nigeria.”

The memorandum of understanding with Ghana seeks to unlock economic potential, promote development of the automotive sector and promote investor-friendly regulatory frameworks that encourage sustainable car manufacturing.

Kyerematen welcomed the signing of the MOU and committed the Ghanaian government to working with Nissan to create the necessary environment for the level of investment that would “make Ghana's automotive sector a reality.”

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president of Ghana, assured Nissan of the full co-operation of the government and people of Ghana “to make their investment a success for both them and us”.

BUSINESS REPORT