The world is viewing Africa’s automotive market as the final frontier. While markets are saturated across the globe, the only real growth for the global auto industry is Africa.
The global automotive market is approximately 95 million vehicles – including 28 million in China and 18 million in the US, while the whole of Africa only accounts for 1.2 million, with South Africa [accounting for] nearly half of that.
The growth opportunities in Africa’s automotive sector are substantial. The continent is characterised by fast-growing economies with a young, growing population and rapid rates of urbanisation along with very low rates of motorisation.
Consumer spending has risen over the past few years at an annual rate of 10% and by 2035, the continent is expected to have the largest labour force potential in the world, while
the motorisation rate in Africa is just 45 vehicles per 1000 inhabitants, which is significantly below the global average of 203 per 1000.
Estimated sales forecast for new light vehicles in Africa is now 1.8 million in 2027, double the 2019 market volume. The African Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) – which came into effect in January 2021, has created a single integrated, free-trade African market of over 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of over US$3.4 trillion.
The Association of African Automotive Manufacturers has been vocal in calling on African governments and industrialists to grab the market and the opportunity to create manufacturing value chains and the jobs that come with that and which AfCFTA has sweetened further.
The development of new markets for the automotive sector has never been more relevant and pressing, amid slowing annual global growth, and the automotive sector’s many difficulties, which have been only compounded by COVID 19.
The slump has upended an industry that is grappling with the huge challenge of ditching the internal combustion engine to tackle the climate crisis. Some experts have even begun to speculate that the world may have reached “peak car,” or the point at which global demand for vehicles begins an inexorable decline.
While the rest of the world develops strategies to flood the continent with their exports, Africa needs to be developing internal capabilities and networks within to create systemic growth and opportunity for its people.
The automotive sector will be a key area of focus at the Intra African Trade Fair in Kigali in September 2021, when collaboration and networking will be facilitated between existing and prospective related businesses, including manufacturers, materials suppliers and aftermarket parts and servicing.
The event which draws 40 000 trade visitors from 55 countries and facilitates around US$40bn worth of trade will include this year a dedicated automotive exhibition hall and also feature the Association of African Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) Forum.