By Obinna Amaobi, Abuja
The wholly made in Nigeria vehicle project of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), has received a huge boost, as the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has disclosed that his country and Nigeria were working on an automotive development plan for sub-Saharan Africa.
Ramaphosa said this at the Nigeria-South Africa Business forum attended by both heads of state.
He said, “South Africa and Nigeria have been working together on the establishment of a Sub-Saharan African Automotive Development Plan.
NADDC, under the leadership of Jelani Aliyu (MFR), has been in the forefront of making Nigeria the automotive design and production hub in Africa.
According to the South Africa president, “The plan recognises the important role the automotive sector can play in promoting industrial development and aims to align our respective initiatives for maximum benefit.
“The initiative will be important not just to the automotive sector but as a testing ground for a deeply collaborative approach to industrial development.”
Speaking further, Ramaphosa stated that the two countries needed to evolve their trade relationship away from crude oil.
He, however, observed that 1,700 South African entities from diverse sectors had active interests in the Nigerian economy as at 2018.
He added, “We need to transform our trade relationship to be one of greater value-addition, with a greater focus on manufactured and agricultural goods.
“Crude oil still dominates trade between our two countries, despite our sophisticated consumer markets and capable manufacturing sector.
“Over 100 South African companies have made investments in Nigeria. Last year, over 1,700 South African firms had active trade relations with Nigeria.
“South Africa is by far the largest purchaser of Nigerian products in Africa, accounting for nearly half of Nigeria’s exports to the rest of Africa in 2018.”
Director General of NADDC, Jelani Aliyu, it would be recalled, had said that the council will work closely with global auto manufacturers like Nissan, Toyota, BMW and Ford amongst others to ensure that wholly Nigerian produced vehicles quickly become a reality.
Aliyu said NADDC will also consolidate on providing support, technical expertise and direction to the industry, including to indigenous vehicles manufacturers like Innoson, in order to fastrack the process of achieving the mandate of the council for the sustainable development of the automotive industry in Nigeria.
This confirms Ramaphosa’s observation that the depth of the ‘trade and investment relationship makes Nigeria a key partner for South Africa.