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Although the potential for a broad transformation of the mobility system in Africa is significant, this article focuses on the circular economy opportunities for automotive remanufacturing as an important transitional step in this broader transformation.

A focus on used vehicles

Africa’s population is greater than 1 billion people – amounting to around 17% of the global population – and yet it accounts for only 1% of total new car sales globally. The African automotive market is dominated by used vehicle imports from Europe and North America. 40% of 14 million used light-duty vehicles exported from Europe, USA, and Japan between 2015 and 2018 went to Africa. Used vehicles continue to dominate the African market and are therefore important to the automotive industry’s circular economy transition. 

The potential for a circular economy 

Africa’s automotive industry is by no means new to the principles of the circular economy. There’s a thriving culture of repair and refurbishment on the continent, aimed at keeping vehicles in use for as long as possible.

Applying the circular economy principles to the automotive remanufacturing industry can improve material management strategies, increase resource recovery, and minimise pollution and waste generation. Investing in the creation of formal automotive refurbishment and repurposing clusters will improve the recovery rate of materials from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) and enable local material feed-in mechanisms to prolong the lifespan of vehicles and remanufacture spare parts. These clusters also play a vital role in transferring technical knowledge for the repair, maintenance, and repurposing of vehicles within the Africa automotive industry.

Download the full article below to explore circular economy strategies for the used vehicle sector.

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French version also available