Of course, many multinational car manufacturing companies will be and have been quick to take advantage of this growing bourgeois market: In 2015, it was estimated that there were 21.6 million passenger vehicles in Africa, making the continent’s more-than 1 billion population a lucrative prospect.
However, Africa’s own entrepreneurs have also seen opportunity in the automobile industry, with three producing cars specifically designed for African terrain and affordability:
Kiira Motors Corporation in Uganda created a hybrid electric sedan named the Kiira SMACK. Originally developed by students from Uganda’s Makerere University in partnership with MIT, the five-seater vehicle is powered by a rechargeable battery and has an internal combustion engine-based generator to charge it. It will be available to the public in 2018.
In Nigeria, domestic vehicle manufacturer Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company is working on a line of passenger cars. This builds on its past success of manufacturing buses and trucks. Its new offering will comprise of an SUV (the IVM 6490A) and a bakkie (the IVM 1021A).
Founded and based in Ghana, the Kantanka Automobile Company focuses mainly on passenger vehicles, such as SUVs and bakkies. The manufacturer currently has three brands on the market: the K17, Omama and Onantefuor.
Though multinational car manufacturing companies have long used emerging African countries as manufacturing bases due to abundant supplies of labour and other critical resources, successful local companies should be encouraged. This is not to say that multinationals don’t help to stimulate the economies in which they operate; they do, but local firms offer myriad benefits from the ground up, such as: products and services customised for local needs; job creation rather than automation; investment in local talent; and deployment in the latest technology - solar power for example.
The listed economic boons are just a few examples of why entrepreneurship needs to be encouraged and supported in developing economies. At Standard Bank, we realise the impact that successful, prosperous entrepreneurs can make in moving their societies forward. That’s why we position ourselves as the bank for entrepreneurs, so we can move them forward with access to funding, advice and support.