PRETORIA – Volkwagen has continued with its expansion into sub-Saharan Africa and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ghanaian government to establish a vehicle assembly facility in the country and assess the feasibility of introducing a modern mobility concept.
Thomas Schäfer, chairperson and managing director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, which is responsible for the sub-Saharan Africa region, said the first locally assembled vehicles were planned to be on the streets in Accra, the capital of Ghana, early next year.
Schäfer and Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen signed the MoU last week in the presence of German chancellor Angela Merkel and Ghanaian vice-president Mahamudu Bawumia.
It followed Schäfer confirming in May this year that Volkswagen was involved in intensive discussions with Ghana and Ethiopia about establishing a car industry in those two countries.
Volkswagen SA in June launched the first integrated mobility solution in Africa, and possibly the world, in Rwanda as part of its strategy to play a leading role in the emerging automotive industry in Africa.
This followed Volkswagen SA last year establishing a permanent team to drive its expansion into sub-Saharan Africa after earlier in the year assuming responsibility for developing and networking 49 states to form the new sub-Saharan Africa region in the VW group as part of a regionalisation strategy. Apart from South Africa and Rwanda, Volkswagen has assembly operations in Kenya and Nigeria.
Volkswagen’s planned operations in Ghana would include the development of a fully fledged sales and service network and a training academy for production and after sales.
It undertook to commence with a feasibility study for an integrated mobility solution, which would include a review of the commercial viability of introducing car sharing, ride hailing and shuttle services by a Ghanaian subsidiary of Volkswagen SA or local service provider.
Ghana has, in turn, undertaken to develop a comprehensive automotive industry policy, which would incentivise and facilitate vehicle manufacturing and assembly in Ghana and include a preferential procurement policy for locally assembled vehicles.
Schäfer said they were impressed with the determination and desire of the Ghanaian government to develop a motor industry.
– BUSINESS REPORT