By Bennett Oghifo
West Africa Automotive Show, WAAS, a new international trade exhibition, brought the region’s automotive parts industry together for the first time.
The maiden edition was recently held at the Landmark Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. The 3 day exhibition which had about 100 exhibitors from Nigeria and around the world hosted more than 3000 visitors.
The exhibition aimed at forging new business ties, show off the latest developments and products in the spare parts and services sector. Also, suppliers, dealers and manufacturers will be able to discuss best practice for the industry and find out more about the developing local motor manufacturing industry.
Managing Director, BtoB Events’ Jamie Hill, the organisers of WAAS, stated that they had two successful show launches in Lagos over the past year, Beauty West Africa and Food and Beverage West Africa.
I envisioned the regional automotive sector come together under one roof during the launch of WAAS, he said.
“We have a wealth of international exhibitors looking to bring high-tech equipment to Nigeria for the first time and a large number of local exhibitors are looking to expand their business and increase exports to surrounding countries,” he said.
He stated Nigeria having the largest population on the continent creates a huge market opportunity, and BtoB has selected Lagos to launch its first show. Also, it recognises Nigeria is well placed to become the automotive hub of the African continent with over 11.5 million vehicles on the roads.
Hill stated that with over 60% of vehicles on the road being over 12 years old, there is a huge aftermarket industry, and so, the need for high quality and affordable spare parts is becoming increasingly important.
He stated that there is also a real hunger to boost the local assembly of vehicles across the country with the 2013 National Automotive Industry Development plan (NAIDP), with more assembly plants being set up, this again significantly increases the demand for spare parts.
We are committed to supporting Nigeria reach its forecast of having 70% of new cars sold being assembled or manufactured domestically by 2050, he said.
He stated that WAAS has the official endorsement of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC and the show’s founding partner is the Auto Spare Part and Machinery Distributors Association, ASPMDA.
Hill stated that in order to support Nigerian companies at the exhibition, the WAAS organisers are drawing up a small conference seminar to throw the spotlight on local businesses.
It is great to give the local companies a platform to grow their market share, increase exports and highlight that the Nigerian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are not out of place amongst the global companies, he said.
ASPMDA represents the largest spare part market across Africa and acts as the re-export hub for sub-Saharan Africa. No other country on the continent can boast a trade hub such as ASPMDA with over 20,000 member businesses, so Nigeria immediately positions itself as the most important for foreign exporters, he said.
The Foreign Trade and Investment Committee Secretary, ASPMDA, Leonard Okoye, stated that the Association is supporting WAAS as an inroad to meet other manufacturers in the competitive market of automobile industry.
He stated that his advice for stakeholders in the auto industry is that they should continue to attend all exhibitions because learning is a continuous process.
Nigerian businesses are well represented at the exhibition, accounting for about 30 per cent of exhibitors. There are national pavilions for Morocco and China, smaller groupings from Thailand, Egypt, Tunisia and India, and a dozen more countries also represented.