Ethiopia is set to manufacture automobiles as well as some military hardware, the head of the Ethiopian Power Engineering Industry (EPEI) has said. This is according to the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.
EPEI General Manager, Major Assefa Yohannes, said that production would begin within two months. EPEI is part of the state-owned Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), one of the 17 companies in that group.
Ethiopia has only two vehicles per 1,000 people and therefore needs more cars. With a population of 94 million, there are only 587,400 cars on the road and that number increases by about 10 percent each year, according to the Ministry of Transport.
Located in the city of Mekele – 770 kilometers (478.4 kilometers) north of the capital Addis Ababa, the engine manufacturing plant will produce a number of different types of engines for light and heavy duty cars and tractors, according to Yohannes.
“As Ethiopia finds itself on the path of fast-tracked economic growth, such industries will be vital to sustain the economic gains being registered,” he said. “The Mekele engine manufacturing plant will be one of the key production facilities, and we will not end there.”
Yohannes explained that import substitution is a major objective of the engine industry and to become competitive, the factory will be producing quality engines of the Euro-three to Euro-five emissions standards.
“The engines to be manufactured will be sold mainly to the Bushoftu Automative Industry (BAI) enabling it to become the first auto maker in Ethiopia,” he said. “It will also supply engines, including industrial ones, to other factories and car assembly companies operating in Ethiopia.”
So far, the multibillion Bushoftu Automative Industry (BAI) has been engaged in the assemblage, overhaul and upgrading of autos for civil use (both light and heavy duty), as well as armored vehicles and tanks.
The light-duty automobile production line has a capacity of producing 60 vehicles per day, according to BAI spokesman Lieutenant Amanuel Tsegaye.
The output capacity of the heavy-duty vehicle production factory is 24 vehicles daily. Buses are being assembled according to need assessment. So far, the factory has handed over 210 buses to the Addis Ababa city bus enterprise, while it is assembling 350 other buses upon order.
“The African Union and the United Nations also have some armored vehicles made by BAI for their peace keeping operations in Africa,” Lieutenant Tsegaye added.