Eastern Africa’s Automotive & Parts Import Market

Increased demand for automotive machinery, lubricants, ball bearings, and other mechanical items and services has resulted from East Africa's growing development and urbanization.

The automotive import market in East Africa is enormous, and it continues to expand every year. The auto parts industry that supports this market (brake pads, bearings, tires, hose pipes, ball joints, pressure plates) is far larger.

Smart entrepreneurs, big and small businesses have taken advantage of the increased demand, and are profiting handsomely by importing directly from the manufacturers and selling at a good retail price. This article focuses on East Africa’s automotive industry which has the potential to drive industrial growth.

"East Africans import almost every car that they use or buy because there is relatively limited car manufacture in their countries."


From secondhand cars to ball bearings, auto parts, and lubricants, Kenya ranks 79 as the largest world importer.

Its top automotive and auto parts import partners are India, UAE, South Africa, China, and Japan.

Kenya is the only East African country with established manufacturing plants because of its superior infrastructure and physical and strong economic position within the East African Community. Kenya largely focuses its automotive market on vehicles retail and distribution, after-sales services, and auto parts sales.


Tanzania's economy, with its ever-increasing middle class, is fueling a rapidly expanding and influential regional automotive sector. Tanzania's government is looking at the possibility of assembling automobile parts locally or importing them from Kenya and other surrounding countries.


The lifestyle of Uganda's urban middle class has been rapidly changing and improving, resulting in increased movement and use of vehicles throughout the country. Save for a few private sector automobile assembling companies, Uganda does not have a vehicle industry.

The establishment of these local private assembling plants collaborates with foreign companies and most use imported auto parts and components.

When compared to foreign goods, locally produced components lack durability, quality, and the proper design. Uganda imports primarily from Japan, India, China, the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Germany.


The quantity of automotive imports into Rwanda is increasing and will continue to rise as more Rwandans own cars that will require maintenance.

Rising earnings and improved infrastructure are simplifying mobility in Rwanda, suggesting that vehicle ownership has great potential. This East African country has multiple automobile assembly companies, and the automotive import business is growing every year.


Burundi lies at the center of Africa and has experienced tremendous growth in its transportation sector.

It is a landlocked country that relies on the ports of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya to import secondhand automobiles and auto parts from Japan.

Burundi is a developing nation and its market industry holds extraordinary opportunities for automotive imports.

South Sudan

Mobility is a big concern for a majority of South Sudanese and has become an everyday essential.

As the country stabilizes, there is an opportunity for the automotive & auto parts industry to grow and satisfy the demand for mobility.

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