Local assembly plants in Ethiopia’s fledgling auto industry plan to begin exporting cars in a couple of years in a market dominated by Chinese brands — part of an effort to industrialize the agrarian economy, Reuters reports.
It’s a grand ambition for the tiny auto industry, transforming a handful of assemblers that bolt together imported kits into a network of factories that can make the country Africa’s biggest car manufacturer over the next two decades.
If it succeeds, it won’t be the first time Ethiopia delivers on an ambitious goal. With one of Africa’s fastest growing economies for more than a decade, Ethiopia has pulled off the Grand Ethiopian dam and others that helped make it an electricity exporter.
Ethiopia’s expanding transport network includes the successful Ethiopian Airlines, the largest and fastest growing African airline, according to GhanaWeb. Ethiopian Airlines won the African Airline of the Year Award 2016 at the 25th Anniversary African Aviation Air Finance Africa Conference & Exhibit in Johannesburg.
This year, a railway will link the landlocked country, population 97 million, to Djibouti port where the Red Sea meets the Indian Ocean, providing a cheap and fast way to import raw materials and export finished goods.
In industrial zones around Addis Ababa and the northern city of Mekelle, Ethiopian firms and Chinese partners assemble vehicle kits. Theey imported 38,000 assembled cars in 2015, a 50 percent-plus increase over 2014.