The president and chief executive officer of Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Ichiro Kashitani, has announced that the automobile company will start assembling its vehicles in Ghana from August 2020.
Kashitani said this on Thursday, August 29, while signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ghanaian government for the establishment of a Toyota and Suzuki assembly plant in the country. “We consider the project of the assembly plant a marriage. It lasts for life, and it is a long-term project,” Kashitani said.
Ghana’s minister of trade & industry. Alan Kyeremanten (right), the CEO of Toyota Tsusho, Ichiro Kashitani, signing the MoU. Behind them is President Akufo-Addo.
UGC Speaking at the event, President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that the signing of the MoU with Toyota Tsusho was in line with his government’s vision of making Ghana an automotive hub for West Africa and the larger African market. Akufo-Addo said Ghana is the base to reach the larger African market with the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“We are attaching a great deal of importance to the initiative and development,” the Ghanaian president said. “We want to assure you that, whatever it is we can do on the side of the Ghana government to provide you with the necessary support and assurance that the investment you are going to make in our country will be worth your while, you can count on us to do that.”
Also speaking at the event, the chief operations officer in charge of the Africa division of Toyota, Imai Toshimitsu, said the decision to establish an assembly plant in Ghana was motivated by the country’s favorable economic climate.
“We are willing to participate in the automotive industry in Ghana,” he said. “I am very happy that we have reached the consensus and principal agreement to start the Toyota and Suzuki assembly plants.
We are planning to kick-off the project immediately, and, hopefully, we will have the first car made in Ghana this time (August) next year.
Thank you very much for your support.” Toshimitsu further explained that Toyota Tsusho decided to assemble Suzuki vehicles in Ghana after acquiring 4.9% stake in Suzuki on Wednesday, August 28. Toyota Tsusho, with 4.9% stake, is now a principal shareholder in Suzuki.
“The products to be assembled in Ghana include the Toyota Hilux pickup, which is already popular in Ghana. Since it will be locally produced, I hope it will be more popular. We are also planning to introduce small passenger cars, with two Suzuki brands. “So, Suzuki products will be assembled and sold in Ghana.
The cars which will be produced in Ghana are our core models for Africa and Ghana customers,” Toshimitsu stated.