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Are we ‘buying African’ enough?

The survival of made in Africa products is being threatened. One of such firms is Kenya’s Mobius Motors. Since its inception in 2014, 15 cars have been manufactured.

Cheaper, fairly used cars from Europe and America enjoyed the most patronage posing a major hindrance to new car sales. The high cost of producing cars in Africa is working against vehicle makers as scarcity of supporting industries needed for these cars to be made locally, have been identified as one of the main manufacturing bottlenecks.

Two other players seem to have found a way round these bottlenecks, however. These are Nigeria’s Innoson vehicle Manufacturing Co. Limited and Uganda’s Kiira Motors Corporation. Within 8 years of Innoson or IVM’s operations, 10,000 units were produced- despite it being privately owned. Kiira or KMC on the other hand, is owned by the Ugandan government and Makarere University. This has ensured its survival since 2011 with a proposed $40 million plant with a capacity to make 5,000 vehicles.

The availability of these manufacturing firms on the continent indicates progress but what is their staying power based on patronage? None of the above manufacturers have received negative safety reviews but neither do they receive foreign automobile show invites. However, we in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda can encourage local players by buying these brands. We can make it, why can’t we buy it?

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