Details are emerging that German Automobile manufacturer, Volkswagen is not opening its main assembly plant here but rather in Nigeria.
Unlike Rwanda’s Assembly Plant which will be serving most of the East African Market, Ghana’s Volkswagen Assembly plant will only serve the Ghanaian market while the market for West Africa will be supplied from Nigeria where VW’s West Africa Office will be.
VW has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nigeria to turn the country into the “automotive hub” of West Africa.
The agreement to this effect was signed during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Nigeria, with Okey Enelamah, minister of industry, trade and investment, present at the signing ceremony in Abuja.
In Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia vice president witnessed the agreement signing.
According to a statement by Volkswagen on Friday, the agreement will see new plants being built in both countries, thereby expanding the automobile market in the continent.
Commenting on the proposed venture, Thomas Schaefer, head of Volkswagen’s sub-Saharan region, said: “Both memorandums of understanding demonstrate one thing: the seriousness with which Volkswagen takes its commitment to Africa.
“We are well-positioned. The situation on the continent has stabilized, and the economy is moving forward. The final hurdles for the development of the automotive industry there have been removed as a result. This is a great opportunity for us.”
Volkswagen’s expansion agenda in Nigeria will include developing a training academy, in conjunction with the German government.
A plan to develop a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network in the country is also in the works, but “subject to commercial viability”.
The statement said the Nigerian government has pledged to “accelerate the passage of Nigerian automotive policies”.
“This includes the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles,” the company said.
In Ghana, questions have been raised about preferential tariffs for VW, which local car ‘manufacturers’ don’t get.
Kantanka Automobile, a local car Assembly point has criticized the new move.
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