Ethiopia will begin production of Russian Lada cars for the African market, according to the country’s Ambassador to Russia, Cham Ugala Uriat.
The move is significant as it illustrates why Ethiopia has joined BRICS – its low manufacturing cost base can assist in keeping production costs down while also providing access to the growing African market. Uriat said:
“We’ll see Russian Lada cars in neighboring countries in the near future because Avtovaz has already signed a deal with one of the Ethiopian companies.”
A variety of SUVs from Lada are suitable for the African market. Uriat specifically mentioned the possibility of supplying Russian Lada cars to Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and Somalia while expressing optimism that production would soon begin.
Other Russian automakers are “showing interest now to go to Ethiopia to build assembling lines,” he added. The envoy said that two more companies are consulting with the Ethiopian side on the matter.
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and also has a burgeoning middle class. It is a member of the South-East African COMESA and the pan-African AfCFTA trade agreements, while a renewal of its WTO membership is pending. Ethiopia’s membership of COMESA gives it free trade access to Burundi, Comoros, DR Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. COMESA in total includes about 640 million people and has a GDP of about USD918 billion.
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