AFRICA is positioning itself as the next hub for the multibillion-dollar automotive industry as a number of countries look to start implementing the continental free-trade agreement.
The secretary general of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Wamkele Mene yesterday urged African countries to show strong political commitment to the agreement.
Speaking during the Automotive Forum at the second day of the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF 2021) yesterday, Mene said the successful implementation of the AfCFTA would significantly reduce costs for business and make continental companies more competitive.
Currently, South Africa is host to the largest multinationals assembly plants in the continent.
“We should not forget that the automotive industry is a hyper competitive global industry which strives on efficiency and the elimination of waste,” Mene said.
“The costs and waste associated with imported parts and components for assembly plants would be rapidly eliminated when Africa adopts a fully-fledged supply chain system.”
The AfCFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services across 55 countries, thereby boosting trade and investment.
AfCFTA is projected to raise Africa’s income by 7 percent, lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, and 68 million people from moderate poverty by 2035.
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina has stated that investors should look to Africa for business opportunities because the AfCFTA will soon become the largest globally.
Adesina said investors were not in business if they were not on the African continent.
“They know that with over 50 countries harmonising tariffs, rules and standards, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area will soon become the largest free trade area in the world since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation,” he said.
“Basically, Africa’s entire development, trade and investment community is here to explore policy gaps in infrastructure, trade and regional integration.”
Managing director at Nissan Africa Mike Whitfield tackled important issues affecting the continent’s automotive industry, addressing issues to accelerate the automotive sector in Africa.
Whitfield said it was important to recognise that for Africa to succeed, public-private-partnerships will need to continue moving forward in unison.
“Creating automotive hubs will encourage regional African trade, driving the implementation of the AfCFTA process and providing safe and affordable mobility solutions in Africa,” he said.
“Nissan’s newly realigned region with South Africa and Egypt positions us positively to support the establishment of Africa as an active automotive manufacturing player in the world.
“Automotive industries create critical balances of trade; earning foreign exchange by exporting locally made vehicles rather than spending vitally needed foreign funds to import them.”
Nissan South Africa managing director Kabelo Rabotho said the company has invested more than R5 billion in manufacturing vehicles in the country, showing confidence in the domestic economy.
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