According to statistics on the African economy, the automotive sector alone has created more than 1.5 million jobs and it is estimated that indirect jobs are almost five million. All this has caused a boom in the African continent and that is why many big brands have established their factories in different African countries. In Kenya alone, this sector has created more than 100,000 direct jobs, which is a great contribution to its economy.
However, these indicators do exclude the motorcycle manufacturing. Since the 1990s when Kenya began importing cars that were no more than 8 years old, Kenyans have purchased approximately 700,000 cars between 2012 and 2020. These cars were not assembled in Kenya, if they were, that would have injected millions into their local economy and produced more jobs.
In this context, Kenya's automotive sector needs to be drastically revamped. That is why local authorities such as the National Automotive Policy are looking at how to establish an enabling environment to stimulate the automotive industry to put Kenya in competition with the major car manufacturers.
The Congress is looking to pass a policy for Kenya to follow in Japan's footsteps and establish trade agreements, as Japan is the world's leading car manufacturer. If they pass new laws in Kenya, local industries will have a drastic impact that will allow them to boost production as SMEs produce auto parts, all this would produce new jobs.
In Kenya, people can import used cars that are 8 years old or less. The Parliament is considering reducing the age of used cars to 3 by 2025. This would stimulate the production of cars manufactured in that country. However, all this should be done in collaboration with stakeholders such as the Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (Kaba). This is the country's leading association of used car dealers, which would also enter the competition by manufacturing genuine Toyota spare parts.
The President of Kenya has been adamant in implementing measures to stimulate the local economy through the draft National Automotive Policy. This is a measure that will be a challenge for Kenyan-made cars, and is intended to put them at the forefront of other African countries.