Unveiling East Africa flat glass market trends in terms of the application spectrum: surging product demand from the construction and automotive sectors to augment the industry growth over 2018-2024

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The East Africa flat glass market has received a surge of interest from the latest development in the automotive industry wherein Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. announced its plans to start a vehicle assembly initiative in Kenya. It is indeed a huge step in the Kenyan government’s plans to develop a regional automotive manufacturing hub in the country which is the biggest economy of East Africa. Other noted automakers such as PSA Peugeot, Volkswagen AG and CNH Industrial NV have also seemingly announced plans to start an assembly line in Kenya. This will apparently not only cut vehicle costs for customers in the rapidly growing economies of the continent but also create a lucrative growth avenue for the East Africa flat glass market as the automotive industry is one of the biggest end users of flat glass.

Tanzania Flat Glass Market Size, By Product, 2017 & 2024, (Kilo Tons)
Tanzania Flat Glass Market Size, By Product, 2017 & 2024, (Kilo Tons)

With lowered costs of vehicles, the scope for the automotive industry will also be widened in the African countries where ownership per thousand people is about a quarter of the global average. Increased affordability will further add to the growth rate of the East Africa flat glass market, the size of which was estimated to be $145 million in 2017.

East Africa has been a model region for economic development especially with the rise of the middle class. As far back as in 2011, a survey showed that 29.3 million people of East Africa can be classified as middle class, constituting 22.6% of the population. The middle-class population has fueled a need for variety, convenience, and competitive pricing which has been reflected in catalyzing the growth of the democratic space. Two of the countries in East Africa with the largest middle-class population, namely Egypt and Tunisia, therefore, aptly overturned the corrupt regimes that oppressed them and led the path for inexorable economic growth. By 2030, the continent’s top 18 cities are expected to have a combined spending power of $1.3 trillion. This economic flourish has been reflected in every aspect of the region, specifically across the industrial arena, leading East Africa flat glass market on the path to success. The thriving construction and automotive industries in the area have been emerging as major end users of flat glass, further strengthening East Africa flat glass industry.

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According to estimates the East Africa flat glass market size from building and construction application during 2017 was valued at $115 million. Recently at East Africa BUILD, the East Africa International building materials, construction equipment, machinery and products Trade Exhibition, investors were urged to expand their presence and network in the region while Governments and Trade Associations were working towards luring international investors. With the number of construction projects having gone up by more than 60% between 2016 and 2017, the East Africa flat glass market is expected to register appreciable growth at it strives to fulfill the increased demand for doors, windows, floors, partitions, bathrooms and stairs.

The rise of income levels and emerging middle class in East Africa have contributed towards the growth of the automotive industry as well. Automakers are adopting a long-term vision in East Africa due to its positive economic outlook. In 2018, automotive manufacturing giant Volkswagen announced the set-up of a new vehicle assembly plant in Rwanda. Imported second hand cars make for a bulk of the automobiles used in East Africa and according to Volkswagen, the $20 million investment in the new plant will facilitate the offer of new cars and also help in launching a ride sharing service in a country where Uber has not yet set its mark. Therefore, the East Africa flat glass market will stand to gain heavily from the upcoming automotive industry in the region that creates an expansive demand for tempered glass and other safety glasses commonly used in automobiles.

The combination of a rapidly progressing economy, emergence of a middle class with more disposable income, and cooperation from governments and trade bodies have been noted in almost all of the countries that constitute East Africa. While on one hand this has attracted investors to focus and spend more on property and building construction for residential and commercial purposes, on the other hand, notable automakers liked Volkswagen have pledged to change Africa’s image in the global automotive space. Driven by the extensive product demand in the region’s automotive and construction sectors, East Africa flat glass market size is anticipated to surpass $235 million by 2024.

Author NameParoma Bhattacharya

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