The traditional tourist area of Kenya, with idyllic sandy beaches, coral reefs and fishing resorts stretching along the coast around Mombasa, is rapidly becoming an industrial centre.
The traditional tourist area of Kenya, with idyllic sandy beaches, coral reefs and fishing resorts stretching along the coast around Mombasa, is rapidly becoming an industrial centre. Factories are springing up near the port which has docking facilities for shipping from all over East Africa. Within the last year, the region has gone through massive industrial development and is helping to alleviate Kenya's acute unemployment problem. One of the new factories is a car-assembly plant in Mombasa itself.
SYNOPSIS: The Associated Vehicle Assembly concern is one of three companies which opened factories in Kenya in June 1977, after a law was introduced banning imports of fully-assembled cars. The legislation was designed to promote the growth of ancillary industries such as tyre manufacturing, exhaust systems and battery production. Car parts are imported from all over the world and are assembled for the local market. The cost of these vehicles is slightly higher than those produced abroad, but the government believes this increase is offset by the advantages of providing employment. This is a vital issue, with unemployment running at 80 per cent in the country.
The factory is largely Kenyan owned and employs about 400 people. The workshop does not use an assembly line system since the management believes it deprives workers of interest in the finished product and encourages absenteeism and accidents. Car bodies are painted are sprayed with an anti-rust solution, and then fitted with the engine and electrical wiring before being welded to the chassis. Mechanics are trained in every stage of the operation and can work in all parts of the workshop.
The firm is one of the few in the world which assembles many different makes of vehicle. The parts for cars and trucks made by Mercedes, Datsun, Toyota, Ford, Mazda and Peugeot are quickly transported from the Mombasa docks to the assembly works.
Production figures have increased every month since the plant opened. The works now assemble more than 125 vehicles a week and the figure is rising steadily towards the target of 150. During the first year of operation, AVA have produced 2,500 vehicles and the firm is doing much to counter local unemployment. Production has centred on commercial vehicles but the company intend to expand into the passenger car market.