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The Global Fleet Management Advisory Board was presented with an overview of the fleet management market in Africa.

Gerald Omo Osagie, a fleet service provider and fleet manager in Nigeria, talked about the development and emerging opportunities in North and sub-Saharan Africa. Michael Ferreira, a former managing director of Avis Fleet Services in South Africa, presented on the more mature market emerging in South Africa.

What was clear from both presentations was the wide variety of requirements across Africa and the need for new fleet management solutions in those economically emerging areas of the continent.

Political instability and lack of access to finance, however, are limiting factors in the region’s ability to grow.

Gerald said it was important to view Africa by regions to gain an understanding of how it was developing. In the North, Nigeria is the driving force on the strength of its oil-driven economy as well as being the most populous region. Here there were lots of manufacturing companies running large fleets, as well as multinationals, that all required fleet servicing.

Greater access to 4G networks - and soon 5G in Nigeria - also allowed greater penetration of telematics in Northern Africa in contrast to many of the continent's other regions where technology was often non-existent, which was proving a barrier to fleet development.

Sourcing of vehicles was generally from Europe, South Korea, and the U.S., since local assembly plants weren't able to meet demand in sufficient numbers.

With a growing economy commercial vehicles were particularly in demand, with fleets sourcing Asian used brands - Toyota, Nissan , Hyundai - and commercials from the U.K. and Europe.

However, major challenges - particularly in West and East Africa - were access to sufficient capital and vehicle funding, exchange rate fluctuations, political instability, and lack of infrastructure.

Nevertheless, Gerald said: “The future of fleet management in Africa is developing. The tech space is slow but it’s growing steadily. I see the future for fleet management in Africa as quite bright.”

Turning to the Southern African fleet market, Michael Ferreira described a very different environment.

Here the market is more mature and more developed.  “It’s to do with access to European markets that operate on the same time zones. Plus access to harbors for imports makes South Africa quite attractive as a developing country.”

Ferreira said the region had an active automotive sector featuring major multinational OEMs. These included Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, and Ford manufacturing motor vehicles in South Africa for local sale and global exports, with a good range of tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers. He also added that Chinese maker BAIC had recently entered the market offering cheap and accessible vehicles.

The used car market was also well supported and had enjoyed a strong year.

Funding was supplied by a variety of companies. Traditional funders included Eqstra, Absa, Imperial, Fleet Africa, Avis Fleet Services, Wesbank, and Standard Bank. This was supplemented by captive funders.

One particular feature of the market Ferreira noted was the provision of maintenance services, including tires, often by third-party service providers as part of a funding fleet management package.

Actual fleet management was becoming easier with greater use of APIs. “When you’re running a global fleet in a country it's important to know when you should be servicing your vehicles, where they are, and so on,” added Ferreira.

Ferreira summed up by saying that with increased innovation, the sector was becoming more advanced with its technology, while fleet providers were recognized as trusted advisers.

“From a leasing point of view there’s no difference to what is available in the rest of the world,” he added.

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