Africa is the final growth frontier for Ford. A well-established auto industry in Nigeria would present an exciting range of career prospects for the youth.
Africa is the youngest continent and Nigeria one of the youngest markets in the world. This presents a huge opportunity in terms of the youth gaining adequate skills to ensure they are a major resource driving African economies. In turn African governments should focus on growing industries that support the creation of decent and sustainable jobs for the youth.
The Federal Government, through the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), aims to discourage the importation of completely built vehicles, and rather promote the local manufacturing of vehicles through either semi-knockdown (SKD) or complete-knockdown (CKD) facilities. New assembly operations, even on a small scale, have a positive knock-on effect throughout the economy and communities.
“We are fully supportive of the government’s drive for the development of skills in Nigeria,” says Abiona Babarinde, GM Marketing at Coscharis Motors – the sole distributor of Ford vehicles in Nigeria. “If we have a viable and sustainable automotive sector, not only will it actively contribute to job creation for the youth, it’ll boost the economic growth of our country.”
In 2015, Ford, in partnership with Coscharis, announced they would start producing Ranger pick-up trucks in an existing facility in Ikeja, Lagos, as part of Ford’s expansion in the Middle East and Africa region. Committed to establishing world-class, best practices in Nigeria, and in line with the operating procedures for its plants around the world, Ford sent experienced employees to Nigeria to assist with implementing the Global Ford Production System, which focuses on the highest standards for safety, quality, and delivery.
In 2017, Coscharis moved manufacturing of the Ranger from the facility in Ikeja to a brand new, purpose-built plant on the grounds of the Coscharis Group’s head office in Lekki, Lagos. The much larger SKD/CKD operation, using body parts and components imported from Ford’s plant in South Africa, leverages over a century’s worth of Ford’s automaking experience. The expansion underscores the human capital opportunities in terms of youth employment, and by extension the multiplier effect on the economic development of Nigeria.
To aid with the upskilling of young auto technicians, Coscharis, in partnership with the Lagos state government, set up the CG-Eko LLP Training Centre in Ikeja, to which Ford donated a number of vehicles for demonstrations and hands-on training. Vehicles are disassembled and reassembled, and trainee technicians are exposed to all the vehicles’ built-in technologies. As many as 600 technicians will receive training on the EcoSport, Ranger, Everest, and Figo.
“We are so grateful that companies like Ford continue to support the training of technicians in Nigeria by providing us with the latest models,” says Sunday Tanimowo, the training manager at CG-Eko LLP. “Our aim is to help grow Nigeria’s overall automotive industry by providing skilled technicians that can compete globally.”