May 18, 2017 12:30 PM, EDT

Volvo Expands Truck Building Into East Africa as Economies Grow

Bob Adams/Flickr

Volvo AB’s trucks division is seeking to boost market share in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to as much as 18% from about 2%, as the East African region’s economic growth outpaces the sub-Saharan Africa average.

The Swedish maker of vehicles and construction equipment agreed to partner with Kenyan car dealer NECST Motors to set up 20 new workshops across the region, a parts warehouse and an assembly line for Volvo trucks in Kenya’s port city of Mombasa, Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson said May 18.

“In all markets, we want to be above 10%,” Nilsson said in an interview in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. “Eventually we want to get to those levels that you see in Morocco and South Africa.”

Kenya will follow those two countries as the third in Africa to have a Volvo Trucks assembly plant. East Africa’s largest economy is expected to grow 5.3% this year, compared with a sub-Saharan Africa average of 2.6%, according to the International Monetary Fund. Uganda and Tanzania are seen expanding 5% and 6.8% respectively.

“We believe very strongly in the growth of the Kenyan economy and also the surrounding countries of Tanzania and Uganda,” Nilsson said. “We are pleased to see what the government is doing in terms of investment in infrastructure, which is a necessity for customers to utilize the benefits of our products.”

Volvo trucks are assembled in 15 countries across the globe and last year the company sold about 103,000 trucks worldwide, Volvo President for Southern Africa Torbjorn Christensson said during the interview.