Automotive suppliers in East and Central Africa region next month converge in Nairobi for an exhibition bringing together local and international firms to showcase recent innovations in the industry.
Dubbed Autoparts East Africa, the show will be held on September 12-14 at the Sarit Convention Center in Westlands with over 100 exhibitors and 2000 buyers and investors expected at the event.
According to Mr. Frederick Buoga from Trade and Fairs East Africa Ltd, the event organizer, Autoparts EA is the biggest expo and conference for automotive suppliers in the region, providing them with a platform to grow their business footprint in the region.
Buyers will also have an opportunity to interact with car manufacturers and automotive service providers. “The exhibition is the perfect marketplace for exhibitors to showcase innovative products and services to an audience of industry professionals and generate promising business leads. We also want to enlighten customers on where they can get quality, affordable car parts,” says Mr. Buoga.
He adds that innovation will be a key highlight of the event. “Recent trends in the industry reveal that car buyers are becoming increasingly motor savvy. They are looking for innovations in car design and user experience that meet their lifestyles and business needs.”
Buoga further says that top experts in the automotive sector will attend the event that will feature seven major categories, namely, autoparts/components, electronic systems, and auto accessories and garage systems. Others are auto dealer and workshop, car care and filling stations, as well as service, IT and publishing. The exhibition will also attract financial institutions, transport operators and government agencies.
Kenya’s automotive markets is largely focused on sale and distribution of vehicles and after-sales service including spare parts. The industry has in recent years experienced rapid growth attributable to aggressive marketing by car makers, high increase in second hand car imports, access to financial credit and an expanding middle class.
Data from Kenya Motor Industry, a lobby association, shows the country had 1.5 million vehicles on its roads in 2015, this figure expected to grow to five million by 2030. Motor vehicle sales in Kenya grew 18 per cent in 2018 with 14,265 new cars sold in the local market excluding imports.
In addition, leading car brands like Volkswagen and Peugeot have recently opened assembly plants in Kenya signaling the growing attractiveness of the regional market to global automotive players.
However, Kenya and other countries in the region continue to be dependent on car imports. For instance, about 80 per cent of Kenya’s vehicle fleet comprises second hand imported cars. But with tighter restrictions on age and quality of imported cars, the government hopes to spur locally vehicle assembly.
The government is also keen on promoting local industry under the Big Four development agenda, a factor expected to drive further growth of the automotive industry in Kenya.
“Local automotive suppliers should explore partnerships with international car makers to manufacture some of the automotive components locally thus lowering costs and creating jobs,” explains Mr. Buoga.