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Africa on wheels: the continent’s auto market

Africa on wheels: the continent’s auto market

Lamborghini 50th anniversary

Trucking demand on the rise
There is a lot of debate currently about whether the truck industry in Africa is in a good place or not. Many truck companies, especially smaller outfits, struggle to be profitable, while larger companies thrive. Small companies are trying to keep their overheads down by having a low-quality, badly maintained fleet of vehicles, claim some observers. Some also believe that road transportation may have been championed and developed too quickly and there needs to be some reversion back to rail transportation. If such a policy was pursued in African countries then the demand for trucks could recede in the long term. The demand for trucks also depends on the progress of road infrastructure projects. If there are delays or projects are shelved in countries with very limited road infrastructure, then this could choke the demand for trucks in the future.

Although the truck industry in South Africa, for example, which represents 0.4% of the world truck industry, has grown in recent years in line with economic growth, some experts are sceptical that this positive trend for the industry will last. Brands that have benefited include Scania, Volvo Group, and Delta Motor Corporation.

The trucking business in Nigeria has, similarly, been expanding recently. As the rail system has collapsed, trucking has become increasingly important and lucrative, especially given the country’s favourable demographics in terms of population (which is over 168m) and growth rate (which is currently around 6.8%). The growth of some industries, including in the petroleum and agriculture sectors and which are based on transport, has also raised demand for trucks. Trucking is an important component of the movement of goods to and from cities like Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Kano.

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Written by Anver Versi

Anver Versi, is the award - winning editor of the London - based pan-African business monthlies, African Business and African Banker, was born in Kenya but has been based in London for the last two decades.

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