The automotive value chain in Africa and the motorcycle industry

  • Date: Wednesday, 02 November 2016
  • Venue: TIPS Boardroom, 234 Lange St, Nieuw Muckleneuk, Pretoria
  • Main Speakers: Alec Erwin, Ubu Holdings and Sithembiso Mtanga (TIPS)


The Nigerian Market for automobiles is substantial and can readily sustain an automobile industry. In 2012, the country imported about $4 billion worth of automobiles of which about two thirds were pre-owned. Estimated annualdemand for vehicles is over half a million made up of 100,000 new and 400,000 used. As at 2012, the population of the middle class was 38 million and growing, assuring a sustained market for the automotive industry. Opportunities exist for South African automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to participate in this market and achieve economies of scale. Alec Erwin will share findings from a recently completed research project. 

PRESENTER: Alec Erwin,  Ubu Holdings

Alec Erwin was previously Minister of Public Enterprises (2004-2008), Minister of Trade and Industry (1996 -2004) and Deputy Minister of Finance (1994-1996). He has also been President of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (1996-2000). Alec was previously General Secretary of the Federation of South African Trade Unions (1979-1983) and the Education Officer for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (1986-1988). He was a member of the African National Congress National Executive from 1994 to 2007. Alec has an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Natal where he was a lecturer in the Economics Department. He has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is currently an Honorary Professor at the University of the Western Cape. He previously sat on the Honorary International Investment Council of President Jonathan in Nigeria and on the Togo Presidential Investment Advisory Council and is presently on the Board of Togo Invest. 


The South African motorcycle industry is a small market in global terms and the registration figures of motorcycles in the country on an annual basis have been in progressive decline. There is currently no local manufacturing of motorcycles in South Africa and no policy in place to develop the industry. The industry is entirely reliant on imports and will require significant support to contribute to the country’s manufacturing value-addition. Is there scope to develop this industry and expand into the export market?

PRESENTER: Sithembiso Mtanga, TIPS

Sithembiso Mtanga is a senior researcher at Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS).  He joined TIPS in 2007 and completed a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy in 2012.