Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday unveiled the first vehicles assembled in Volkswagen’s new plant in Accra.
“It is a good day for Mother Ghana. The Volkswagen assembly plant will create a lot of highly skilled jobs, reduce the high amounts of foreign exchange used in the importation of second-hand vehicles, and, thereby, help strengthen the Ghanaian currency, whilst, at the same time, earn the nation foreign exchange through the exportation of made-in-Ghana vehicles,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The plant, located in Accra’s North Industrial Area, assembles ICE versions of the Tiguan and Tremont SUVs, the Passat, Polo, and the Amarok pickup. Volkswagen aims to produce around 5,000 vehicles in the first year, increasing production based on demand.
“With the Chinese company, Sinotruk, already engaged in the assembly of trucks in Ghana, I am hopeful that other global automobile companies, which have indicated their preparedness to set-up shop in Ghana, will soon follow the remarkable, pioneering example of Volkswagen,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Ghana’s new Automotive Development Policy, which encourages auto makers to open factories in the country, provides the necessary framework to establish assembly and manufacturing capacity in Ghana. The initial focus will be on new passenger cars, SUVs, and light commercial vehicles which would include pickups, minibuses and cargo vans.
In pursuance of the Policy, Ghana’s new vehicle import duties favour the local vehicle production industry. Used vehicles in Ghana will attract an effective import tax of about 64%, whereas firms importing semi-complete knocked down kits face an effective tax of only 5%. They also get a 5-year tax holiday. These initiatives, the government hopes, will cause an increase in the price of used vehicles, making new locally assembled vehicles more competitive
Volkswagen also has plants in Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa.