Nigeria’s car industry is a good illustration of the embedded dysfunction of the country’s economy. Policy interventions and incentives to date have not been sufficient for the sector to realise its potential. Despite some progress, the initiative has been undermined not only by the economic slump, but also by other problems that have dogged industrialisation for years, including smuggling across the country’s porous land borders. The automotive sector was targeted by former president Goodluck Jonathan to drive industrialisation. Incentives were put in place to attract global car manufacturers to set up assembly operations in Nigeria as part of efforts to diversify the economy and reduce imports. It worked. From 2014, big names such as Nissan, Ford and Renault began to import semiknocked-down kits for assembly in Nigeria with a view to full manufacturing down the line. Nissan planned to make Nigeria its Africa hub. Analysts warned that SA’s manufacturing sector would eventually be o...

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