As part of efforts to promote the automotive industry in Africa, the AAAM organised factory visits to some automotive component manufacturers in Durban, South Africa during the #IATF2021. On 19 November 2021, a delegation of automotive industry representatives from #Ghana and #Kenya visited Smiths Manufacturing which is located at Pinetown in Durban. The delegation included Issaka L. Tetteh (Project Manager of AAAM, West Africa), S.K. Syan (Sagoo Holdings Ltd., Kenya), Ashit Shah (Mutsimoto, Kenya), Nephat N. Njengwa (Auto Springs East Africa Plc., Kenya), and Jackson Wambua (Kenyan Association of Manufacturers).
Mr. Selvin Konar (Managing Director) and Mr. Nobutaka Toda (Commercial Liaison Director) of Smiths Manufacturing welcomed the delegation.
After a detailed presentation by Mr. Konar, members of the delegation were given the opportunity to ask questions. Subsequently, the delegation was given a tour of the plants of the company. The delegation was amazed at the level of automation, orderliness, cleanliness and the entire set up of the plants. Mr. Konar argued that the application of “Kaizen” at Smiths Manufacturing had brought immense benefits to the company. Moreover, the company aims at continuously improving in every aspect including human resources development and automation. Furthermore, Smiths Manufacturing has been able to stay competitive due to its strategic partnerships with global key players in the automotive industry.
Issaka L. Tetteh indicated that AAAM is interested in getting reputable component manufacturers such as Smiths Manufacturing to explore setting up facilities in West Africa. He asserted that with the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the growing number of OEMs setting up assembly plants in the sub-region, and the huge size of the automotive aftermarket in West Africa, automotive component manufacturers must adopt strategies to enable them to take advantage of the new opportunities in the automotive value chain in the ECOWAS Region.