Ethiopia is set to manufacture automobiles, as well as some military hardware, the head of the Ethiopian Power Engineering Industry (EPEI) told Anadolu Agency.

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 needs more cars. With a population of 94 million, there are only 587,400 cars on the road, according to the Ministry of Transport. That number increases by about 10 percent each year, the ministry said.

Ethiopia has only two vehicles per 1,000 people.

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,” Yohannes said. “As Ethiopia finds itself on the path of fast-tracked economic growth, such industries will be vital to sustain the economic gains being registered.”

“The Mekele engine manufacturing plant will be one of the key production facilities, and we will not end there,” he added.

Import substitution is a major objective of the engine industry, Yohannes explained, and to become competitive, the factory will be producing quality engines of the Euro-three to Euro-five emissions standards,” he said, adding the factory has a license from largest Chinese engine manufacturing company – Yuchai.

“The engines to be manufactured will be sold mainly to the Bishoftu Automotive 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 Bishoftu Automotive 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, BAI spokesman Lieutenant Amanuel Tsegaye said.

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 had 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,” he added.

Source: Turkish Weekly
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