NAIROBI – In a significant move to bolster its automotive industry, Kenya has entered into a partnership with Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Corporation, focusing on funding the Thika-based Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM).
According to Kenya News Agency, the deal was sealed during the G7 Session of Trade Ministers in Osaka, Japan, and targets the rejuvenation of KVM, which has been experiencing financial hurdles. The precise figures concerning Toyota Tsusho’s investment remain undisclosed at this juncture.
The Kenyan team at the negotiations was led by Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano, who was accompanied by Industry Principal Secretary Dr. Juma Mukhwana and Kenya’s ambassador to Japan, Tabu Irina. The Japanese delegation comprised Toyota Tsusho Corporation’s President and CEO, Ichiro Kashitani, alongside Kashumasa Kimura, the COO of Toyota Tsusho Africa Division’s New Business Development.
KVM, in which the National Treasury holds a 35 percent stake, has struggled financially in recent times. Other significant stakeholders include CMC Motors and DT Dobie, with each owning 32.5 percent. The facility assembles a variety of brands, such as Nissan, Peugeot, and commercial vehicle bodies for Hyundai, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi, among others.
Miano encouraged the Toyota Tsusho delegation to leverage Kenya’s strategic position to scale up the local production of automotive parts and components. She highlighted the impending finalization of the automotive Bill and regulations, developed in consultation with industry stakeholders, which will address the recycling of End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) and batteries, noting the presence of over 70,000 vehicles in junkyards nationwide.
The Ministry also underscored its commitment to the development of local manufacturing capacities to meet technological and volume demands and is advocating for incentives to reduce duties on electric and hybrid vehicles, thereby enhancing their affordability.