“Our Africa, Our Future.” This is the slogan under which the African Union commemorates its 60th anniversary on Africa Day this year.
This slogan resonates strongly with Volkswagen as the company continues to grow its presence on the continent. Earlier this year, Volkswagen took over the responsibilities of the assembly facility in Ghana from its licensed importer, Universal Motors Limited. Ghana is the fourth Volkswagen assembly location in Sub-Saharan Africa after Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa, where Volkswagen has been manufacturing vehicles for over 72 years.
Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) Chairperson and Managing Director, Martina Biene, is positive about Africa’s growth potential. She explained that a number of African countries have introduced compelling incentive plans for locally assembled vehicles to attract OEMs like Volkswagen to invest in the development of the automotive industry on the continent.
“We are encouraged by the automotive policy changes which some of the countries have implemented or in the process of implementing. These policies will help us to sell new high quality vehicles which are backed by a well-established global brand to our African customers,” said Biene.
Biene added that Sub-Saharan Africa has become very important for the sustainability of Volkswagen. “The future of Volkswagen is in Africa. We are therefore accelerating our growth strategy on the continent by playing a pioneering and leading role in the development of the automotive industry,” she said.
Volkswagen already has a presence in 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where it sells passenger and commercial vehicles through licensed importers. “We will continue to grow the Volkswagen brand in these markets and strengthen our after sales support to customers. Ongoing training is provided to technical staff at the Volkswagen locations to meet customer requirements and expectations,” Biene added.
According to the African Development Bank of the world’s ten fastest growing economies, five are in Africa – Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Biene affirmed that Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire are also two of Volkswagen’s fastest growing markets. Rwanda, with an economy growing at close to 8%, shows significant potential for increased mobility solutions and electric vehicles due to its relatively young, tech-savvy population and growing middle class.
“Rwanda has been the success story of our growth plans in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is also the innovation hub of our sustainable mobility lighthouse projects on the continent. Our mobility solutions services business, which includes ride hailing and corporate car sharing, broke even last year. Rwanda was also the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to launch a Volkswagen electric vehicle with the e-Golfs,” concluded Biene.