Dubai, UAE: A new whitepaper authored by Africon, the German consultancy firm that supports companies worldwide with business expansion in Africa, has outlined key insights into the automotive markets of Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Among the data are details on the rise of imported vehicles as well as a growing spare parts market in the two countries, making the pair increasingly important in the African automotive aftermarket going forwards.
The paper outlined that while Ghana and Ivory Coast are both smaller markets than the likes of African heavyweights Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa, they hold enormous potential.
Total vehicle imports into both countries skyrocketed in the past six years, with the value of light vehicles in Ivory Coast more than doubling and heavy vehicles almost doubling since 2016.
In Ghana, growth has been slightly slower, yet figures remain impressive at an average of 11 percent and 10 percent annually for light and heavy vehicles respectively. For both countries, most of the total supply came from the USA, UAE, and Europe.
Similarly, in Ivory Coast, despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s new light vehicle market growth in recent years has been relatively strong, with volume increasing from 7,500 in 2012 to relatively consistently more than 10,000 units over the past few years. In total, there are around 800,000 vehicles on the road in the country (excluding trailers, and two- and three-wheelers), while Ghana is home to approximately 1.2 million.
“Spare parts markets are equally growing for both countries,” the whitepaper reads. “While the Ghanaian parts market is around twice as large as that of its francophone neighbour, Ivory Coast has been catching up quickly with annual growth in imported parts increasing by almost 20 percent between 2015 and 2021. In Ghana, growth stands at ‘only’ 10 percent per annum over the same period.”
Africon believes that with growing market sizes, the two countries are likely to be the focus of parts manufacturers, while the localisation of distribution infrastructure is likely to increase. As it stands, both Ghana and Ivory Coast have a very similar distribution structure, with global parts manufacturers supplying through international trading firms based often in the UAE or EU.
E-commerce so far plays a rather limited role in both countries, the paper asserts. Foreign online platforms are sometimes used to import parts, especially due to a higher trust in foreign sources. For the resale within the countries, a vast majority of buyers prefer to “see and touch” the products before ordering. Additionally, logistical challenges to enable reliable e-commerce systems are yet to be solved. Nevertheless, many stakeholders believe in future solutions to these challenges and are increasingly keen to explore opportunities in the digital space in Africa.
“While so far only very few global parts manufacturers have their own staff and structures in the region, they should and will move closer to their customers in this regard,” the paper continues. “The importance of e-commerce parts sales and other digital automotive services (repair and service, insurance, ride-hailing, etc) may well rise to significantly increase convenience to local drivers and vehicle owners. To ensure a foothold in these promising future markets, local and global firms should make use of early mover advantages.”
Africon, with representations in Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania, will be attending this year’s annual Automechanika Dubai trade show from November 22-24 at Dubai World Trade Centre in the UAE.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, last year’s event brought together 20,574 visitors from 129 countries, 578 exhibitors from 47 countries, and 12 official country pavilions to reconnect and engage in serious business conversations, sign new deals, explore new partnerships, and stay updated on the latest market trends.
The show’s organiser, Messe Frankfurt Middle East, expects more than 750 exhibitors this year, a healthy 30 percent year-on-year increase, with similar visitor growth anticipated as international travel restrictions continue to ease.