It won't be long before OEMs start asking their suppliers for the "Africa price."
(In fact, China has become Africa’s third-largest trade partner, after the US and France. According to areportby China’s General Administration of Customs, bilateral trade between China and Africa will exceed $100 billion (US) in 2008.)
If we get any news from Africa these days, it’s usually bad: poverty, drought, rampant AIDS, conflicts in Sudan and Nigeria, Islamic extremism, political oppression in Zimbabwe.
Under the radar, however, Africa is quietly flexing some manufacturing muscle, and I wonder just how long it will be before we start talking about outsourcing to Africa the same way we outsource to China today.
It’s not so far-fetched. Due to the strength of the euro, Airbus is considering setting up shop inTunisia.BMW operates manufacturing facilities in Cairo, Egypt, and Rosslyn,South Africa.Mazda has facilities in Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Toyota operates assembly plants in Mombasa, Kenya, and Sandton, South Africa. The latter employs more than 9,500 people. Ford, GM, Honda and Volkswagen also have plants in South Africa. Chinese electronics manufacturer Hisense Group runs a television assembly plant in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Overall, South Africa has an established, diversifiedmanufacturing basethat has shown its resilience and potential to compete in the global economy. In fact, manufacturing contributed 20 percent of South Africa’s annual GDP in 2006.
It won’t be long before OEMs start asking their suppliers for the “Africa price.”