Africa has become the next frontier for European and Asian car manufacturers. Adding to Ethiopia’s collection of foreign auto companies, Volkswagen signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ethiopian Investment Commission in the beginning of 2019. This makes Ethiopia the third country in sub-Saharan Africa to sign an MoU with Volkswagen, following Ghana and Nigeria, which both signed MoUs with Volkswagen in August 2018. Volkswagen already has a manufacturing plant in South Africa, which has been active since 1951.
According to the MoU signed between Ethiopia and the company, Volkswagen will focus on four key pillars: the establishment of a vehicle assembly facility, localization of automotive components, introduction of mobility concepts such as app-based car sharing and ride hailing as well as the opening of a training center. Thomas Schaefer, Head of Volkswagen Sub-Saharan Africa Region, who signed the MoU, detailed his company’s intentions in Ethiopia in an email interview with EBR’s Ashenafi Endale.