American Automotive Industry expert , Mr. Edward Hightower has called upon Ugandans to prepare for the immense economic opportunities as global car makers switch from the production of combustion engine to electric vehicles . This , coupled with a growing car market in Africa , Hightower said Uganda’s automotive industry was on the right path to spur economic growth and national development.
Hightower who is also the Kiira Motors Corporation Automotive Industry adviser has projected that many international car producing companies will build and put on the market more electric cars than combustion engine ones in the next ten years- a scenario he said presents a wide range of economic opportunities along the automotive industry value chain for Uganda and Africa .
Hightower the Managing Director of US-based Motoring Ventures, an investment, growth, strategy, and operations advisory firm based in the USA in a zoom presentation to various Automotive Industry stakeholders in Uganda , noted that although Africa is still lagging behind the rest of the world in the race for electric vehicles- the continent has a big market for the sustained growth of the automotive industry .
“Africa remains a very small market and a marginal producer of cars compared to the size of its population and therefore has a huge potential for the car market including electric vehicles,” he stressed adding that in 2019, there were just about 1 million new cars sold in Africa, accounting for just 1.2% of the global total, yet the continent’s population is close to 14% of the world population, just about the same as China’s.
It is estimated that Africa has an adult population of around 800 million, according to the UN and that by 2050, this number is projected to increase to almost 1.7 billion. Hightower says Uganda’s automotive industry flagship-Kiira Motors should position itself to tap into this market by producing vehicles locally including electronic ones. Kiira Motors is currently -championing green mobility technologies in Africa and as produced the Kayoola fully electric buses that are now used to transport the staff of Civil Aviation Authority, (CAA).
But much as Kiira Motors has taken the lead to produce electric vehicles for the Uganda and African market, Hightower regrated to note that of the 11 million electric cars sold worldwide in 2020 , none was manufactured in Africa. “Manufacturing vehicles in Africa is more viable than producing them abroad because it reduces on the cost of transport and creates jobs for the local people . The concept of supply chain localization must be emphasized as African governments help their automotive industries to take off .”
There are around 35 million cars on the road in Africa, according to automobile market research firm, LMC Automotive and the market is growing. Hightower , now advising Ugandan car automaker Kiira Motors as it prepares to produce at least 1,030 buses for Tondeka Mass Transit Bus System (MTBS.)