Move targets broader East African and sub-Saharan African markets
By Nsikan Ikpe
In a move that market watchers say is targetted at taking advantage of the broader dynamics of the expanding East African Community as well as the supervening sub-saharan African economy, French carmaker, Peugeot, has signed a deal to resume the assembly of cars in Kenya
The deal which was signed by officials of the carmaker and the Kenyan govt would clear all of the extant bottlenecks and enable the firm to resume the assembly of vehicles in the country.
While the details of the negotiations are still sketchy, sources close to the talks say it will almost immediately enable Peugeot is to assemble five models of its brand in Kenya. with the first fleet of cars under the agreement expected to be rolled out in June. 2017.
Observers say that the deal would help Kenyans get access to brand new cars assembled within their own country, provide jobs for citizens and raise the nation’s profile further as the economic hub of East Africa and fourth largest economy on the Afrivcan continent. it will also come in handy for the Uhuru Kenyatta-led Kenyan government ahead of elections later in the year.
It will be recalled that a similar initiative to boost its operations in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria had been mulled in the Goodluck Jonathan era but all of that came to an abeyance when economic conditions within the West African nation went sharply south.
Specifically, these included the current administration’s lukewarm attitude to the National Automative Policy, foreign currency challenges, the outbreak of recession, collapse of the middle class and decline in the purchasing power of the average Nigerian.
Analysts however believe that some of the cars would yet find their way into Nigeria but that this would be without the country having any benefits in the much needed area of employment generation for its workforce.