GHANA -The Japanese multinational automobile manufacturing company, Suzuki Motor Corporation with Compagnie Française de l’Afrique Occidentale (CFAO) and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, have announced a joint plan to set up a production facility in Ghana.

According to Mr Koichi Suzuki, Suzuki’s General Manager in-charge of Middle East and Africa the group intends set up a hub in Ghana to serve its operations in sub-Saharan Africa.

This follows similar decisions by other automobile giants, including Volkswagen, Nissan, Renault and China’s Sinotruk, to set up assembly plants in Ghana.

Mr Suzuki said the company, which had more than 50 percent shares in the Indian automotive industry, in collaboration with Toyota Tsusho, the trading arm of the Toyota Group that has the largest distribution network in Africa, with CFAO, intended to “find a next India on the African continent”.

Mr Suzuki said with that the partnership seeks to capitalise on the government’s initiative of introducing a new Automotive Policy by siting its distribution and after-sales service centre in the country.

“We are highly interested to participate in the initiative made by the Ghanaian Government to start production here to expand it and to grow it.

Our next phase of growth will come from Africa, but we need to find the right partner in Africa for manufacturing and distribution after sale of our vehicles.

We firmly believe that our next growth will come here in Africa,” he stated, adding, “We want to contribute to the further development of African countries…Our vision is with Africa and for Africa,” he said.

Currently, he said, Suzuki has partnered with Toyota in Africa, and they are currently working in 26 countries.

“We came to know from Toyota that the Ghanaian government is planning to roll out a new automotive policy. We heard this from Toyota executives who paid a visit here last month,” he added.

Suzuki produces annually 3.3 million affordable but reliable, safe and fuel-efficient vehicles, with engine capacities less than 1.6 litres via its production plant in India that churns almost half of its global production.

Masafumi Yamashita, from Toyota Tsusho Corporation, said his company and CFAO have the largest automotive distribution network in Africa, and have an ambition to contribute to and support further development in African countries.

“Our vision is with Africa and for Africa. This time, we commit to work together with Suzuki Motor Corporation for the future development of the automotive industry here in Africa, as a strategic partner,” he added.

On his part, President Akufo-Addo said the companies’ decision to establish an assembly plant in Ghana is in the right direction, as foreign direct investments into Ghana would spur development and economic growth.