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WAAS to promote automative industry’s development

By Godstime Imadojemu
16 May 2023   |   4:06 am
The largest West African Automative Show (WAAS), will begin today at Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Ending on May 18, the third edition of the exhibition and conference, according to the organisers, promises to be four times larger than the previous editions.

Jamie Hill

The largest West African Automative Show (WAAS), will begin today at Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Ending on May 18, the third edition of the exhibition and conference, according to the organisers, promises to be four times larger than the previous editions. Managing Director, JAMIE HILL, speaks with GODSTIME IMADOJEMU about the show.

Briefly tell us about WAAS?
WAAS is the largest yearly automotive exhibition and conference on the African continent. This year’s edition will span across two halls of the Landmark Centre, with a record number of exhibitors from all over the world showcasing the latest products and technologies that the global automotive aftermarket has to offer.

This year will see the over 150 exhibitors, including over 30 exhibitors from China – who are returning for the first time since the pandemic. We are also delighted to work with the Automotive Components Manufacturers Association of India, who will be joining us for the first time to host 20 companies as part of their national pavilion. Which is really exciting.

Perhaps the most exciting addition to this year is the WAAS Conference. We received a lot of feedback last year from our attendees that they would like to see a conference as part of the event, so we have listened and we are delighted to introduce former Director of Planning and Strategy National Automotive Design and Development Council NADDC, Luqman Mamudu, as the conference chairman. The conference will be titled: Transition to sustainable, quality automotive parts supply in West Africa’ and will aim to tackle three key issues: To examine and evaluate the Nigerian automotive parts market structure, with a view to identifying the gaps in value delivery, to examine the existing and potential industry capacity in assembly and automotive parts supply and to evaluate issues around the global automotive parts and components supply terminals across West Africa.

It is all free to attend and we hope as many of the automotive industry professionals from across the country can make it. We want to show the full potential of the regional automotive industry to the global market and give Nigeria a yearly meeting place for the industry to share knowledge, do business and drive things forward.

All visitors stand to gain immensely from both the exhibition and conference. The sheer volume of new products being showcased from all over the world, some for Nigeria for the very first time, offer businesses the opportunity to get ahead of the competition, gain competitive advantage and bring new products to market. Visitors are required to
pre-register their attendance beforehand at www.westafricaautomotive.com/pre-register

What are your plans for this year’s edition of the show?
As mentioned, this year’s main attraction, exhibition aside, will definitely be the conference. We have some fantastic speakers confirmed and some key topics will be addressed with the aim of bringing industry stakeholders together to tackle key issues and drive things forward.

We will also be showing our appreciation to everyone who has supported the growth of WAAS this year by hosting an exhibitor, speaker and VIP drinks reception on the evening of May 16th at the Landmark Beach.

The conference, offers unique insight from industry leaders who have navigated the consistent and every changing challenges that both policy and economic factors have brought over the past decade or so. It is an opportunity to put your questions to the experts, share best practice and increase knowledge from both a technical and business point of view.

How did you arrive at the theme of the conference ‘Transition to sustainable quality automotive parts supply in West Africa’ and what is it driving it?
There is a prevalence of substandard parts in Nigeria at present, and the aim of the conference is to drive towards enabling the market to transit from sub standard to quality parts. The Conference aims to highlight the need for safety and quality in automotive products. Used parts imports account for nearly 90% of aftermarket share. The reasons observed are varied but the preference for used components may be due to eroded confidence for new parts. Substandard new components and parts are common in the market, so people are suspicious. To build confidence, suppliers must deploy product quality standards tracking systems. Global brands must also expand their network of service and parts as outlets for genuine parts.

I expect that the inaugural conference of WAAS and the show itself will deepen demand for new parts in Nigeria. The dominance of used parts potentially undermines any attempt at local manufacturing as they are far cheaper than the original new ones and are perceived as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) standard.

Another adverse impact of the full reliance of fully built automotive import is that it certainly constitutes a strain on the balance of payment position and missed opportunities to create employment. This has the potential to undermine the economy. It is particularly concerning because 70% of this is accounted for by pre-owned vehicles and used parts obtained from salvage vehicles.

How will the Nigerian economy benefit from this as the host country?
I will expect targeted discussion of issues around the status of the Nigeria automotive sector and indeed that of West Africa. This will include the need to create a conducive investment environment in Nigeria and the economic region, the potential for a credit purchase scheme to drive demand for vehicles and parts, and potentials to grow automotive local content.

Above all, the May 2023 conference outcome will be timely and useful in strategic policy formulation for intervention in the automotive industry by the incoming government of Nigeria in the same month.

More direct benefits to the economy will be felt with over 150 international companies travelling into Nigeria, staying in hotels for a week, going for meals in the evening, getting around Lagos, VISA fee’s etc… Then you have the taxes paid from stand sales, stand building, contracting etc…

Exhibitions are a key driver of economic growth, as experienced across Europe in the past to emerge from economic downtown. At BtoB Events Ltd, we are delighted to do our bit to support the Nigerian economy.

Looking at the Nigeria Automotive industry, what recommendations would you make towards making it more vibrant and sustainable?
This is the entire focus of the West Africa Automotive Show this year, and why we have installed the conference and brought in an industry powerhouse in Luqman Mamudu to lead this. We will bring together all of the automotive leaders together in the same place, at the same time to come together and discuss the best ways that collectively we can all contribute to the growth and improvement of the sector.

Personally, I believe that a key driver of growth remains the return to implementation of the NAIDP and its component programmes, or something similar. This could include measures such as reinstating all fiscal and protective measures, the removal of administrative constraints, and a credit purchase scheme to drive demand for not only assembled vehicles but also parts and components to serve OEM and after-market.

I would like to issue a rallying cry to all automotive professionals across Nigeria, and West Africa, to attend WAAS and use it as a platform to drive the industry forward. This is a new platform in this regard, that will facilitate the coming together of great minds, sharing of best practice and an opportunity for both public and private stakeholders to communicate in an open and transparent manner.

WAAS is now the largest automotive aftermarket across West Africa. We want this to be an exhibition and conference that the region can be proud of. The fact that it is over four times larger than ever before really demonstrates the demand from the global market to enter the region and we need to channel this interest and investment to drive the industry forward (excuse the pun).

For more information you can visit
www.westafricaautomotive.com or whatsapp us on +234 7040925734 or info@westafricaautomotive.com