Renault joins multinational carmakers wooing Africa

French carmaker Renault is set to establish an assembly plant in Ghana, joining a long list of carmakers interested in Africa.

The multinational
automobile manufacturer’s Vice President and Chairman for
Africa-Middle-East-India (AMI) Region, Fabrice Cambolive, announced this on
Monday when he called on President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra.

“For us, we
are now to see if our capacity to bring our products to this country is
marching with your policy and, if it is okay, we will be delighted to do that,”
he stated.

Cambolive
said he was privy to the values of Ghanaians, which to him, were critical to
the company and “hope that we will be able to concretize it in a really
hard project, not a short-term project, but a long-term project, and if
everything is matching, we will come back to you as soon as possible.”

President
Akufo-Addo expressed his happiness and optimism about the announcement, describing
it as good news.

“Ghana is the
most preferred destination, business friendly, impressive economic indicators
and political stability in West Africa region, to establish an assembly base,”
Akufo-Addo.

He added, “We
are the second largest economy in West Africa. So, there are lots and lots of
reasons why Ghana is a well-positioned place for you.”

Akufo-Addo
said they were looking upon Ghana as the gateway to West Africa with a market
of some 350 million people, which is scheduled to go up to 500 million people
by the year 2030.

“So, we think
that it will be a good place for you to make it,” the President added.

Other car
manufacturing companies like Volkswagen, Sinotruk and Nissan are expected to
establish their assembly plants in Ghana this year.

In July last
year, Volkswagen
rolled out its first car manufactured in Rwanda
from its Kigali assembly
plant.

The German
automaker ventured into the Rwandan market in early 2018 as it set to compete
in the manufacturing sector with other key players.

The company
identified the market as a potential investment hub to expand its business in
Africa, following similar experience in South Africa where it has cemented its
brand.

Nigeria,
Kenya and Algeria are other countries the German has established its branches
in Africa.

Rwanda President
Paul Kagame expressed his desire for Rwanda to manufacture its own automobiles rather
than relying on imported cars that limit the growth of the industry.

While importation
of second hand cars remains a lucrative business on the continent, Uganda is on
track in limiting importation of second-hand cars. The country is making
policies to effect this change.

Volkswagen is also eyeing the Ethiopian market after the country’s shift late last year. The country of 105 million people has seen an increase in Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) since the new Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy and first female president took over.

In December last
year, UNCTAD
produced a guide on investing in Ethiopia
. The iGuide has all the
information an investor would need when investing in the country.

And as
Renault courts Africa, Nissan Motors is
already establishing its footprint in East Africa with plans to set up a local
assembly plant in the East African region.

Following the
arrival of Peugeot in
Kenya in 2017, the automotive market growth is rapid as different automotive
dealers make haste to cement their brands and mark on the African soil.

Toyota has
been an undisputed major key player in the African continent but the Japanese
automaker has been facing a tumultuous time since the arrival of big names in
the market.

Competition
is getting stiffer on the continent as preferences evolve and big spenders
emerge on the continent.

Already, some
African countries are starting to produce their own vehicles which are made for
the terrain.
In Kenya, Mobius
is already marketing its brand
while Uganda has Kiira Motors, Ghana’s Kantanka
Automobile Company
and Nigeria’s Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company.

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