Nigeria’s growing automotive industry got a boost over the weekend with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Volkswagen group to develop a joint vision for an automotive hub in the country.

Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, signed on behalf of Nigeria, while the Head of the Sub-Saharan Region of Volkswagen, Thomas Schaefer, signed on behalf of the group.

In the MoU, Volkswagen undertakes to implement a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, initially from assembly kits with the long-term view of establishing Nigerian as an automotive hub in the West coast of Africa.

This will include establishing a training academy in conjunction with the German Government, which will train the initial employees,

The academy will also provide a broader technical training in automobile skills. It is also intended that a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network is developed in the country subject to commercial viability.

In turn, the Nigerian government undertakes to finalise the approval of the Nigerian Automotive policy currently under consideration. This include the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles.

The government has committed to providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of vehicles in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okey, while signing the MoU, stated that “We believe in the strategic role of the automotive industry in the diversification of the Nigerian economy and we remain committed to encouraging and partnering with relevant stakeholders, especially investors and friends of Nigeria”

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“We will meet our commitments and look forward to welcoming other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) interested in working with us to increase local production, local procurement, and exports”