Manufacturing and Logistics

Built for Africa, in Africa PrintEmail

In the latest issue of African Review, Mike Whitfield, chairman of Nissan Africa South and managing director Nissan Egypt at Nissan Motor Corporation, discusses the company’s African development following the opening of a new assembly plant in Ghana

31.03.22 Japan Motors Assembly Plant Launch 63 DJI 0053Mike Whitfield with the President of Ghana and other executives at the opening ceremony of the new plant. (Image source: Nissan)

Commenting on the advantages the plant will bring to the country, Whitfield said, “The benefit of the plant to Ghana is incalculable, because it is key to the reindustrialisation and diversification of the country’s economy. If we look at South Africa as an example, the automotive manufacturing industry today employs 470,000 people and three times more in the value chain. It contributed 7.1% to the GDP in 2019 and earned US$14.3bn through exports. But that was done over 60 years.”

“Here, Japan Motors began by employing 12 people. That became 37 by the time it commissioned the plant (30 of them are university graduates). If the plant reaches full capacity, Japan Motors believes it could more than triple the number of brand new, highly technical, jobs. As the market develops, it would be wonderful if Japan Motors (and other OEMs) could develop beyond assembling to actual manufacturing.

“The bigger picture involves using the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to begin producing vehicles across Africa in what the World Bank believes could increase the combined GDP of the continent by US$450bn by 2035 if it is effectively implemented, lifting 100 million people out of poverty. The automotive plan for Africa involves creating regional manufacturing hubs to begin trading regionally before expanding, and the investment in this plant looks to help Ghana tap into that potential.”

Read the full interview and learn more about Africa’s manufacturing potential in the latest issue of African Review, available now.

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