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Mobility: In 2021, Toyota will invest $ 45 million in startups in Africa

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With its Mobility 54 investment fund, Toyota not only wants to play a key role in the development of mobility in Africa, but also to boost its vehicle sales there. It is with this in mind that the Japanese auto giant will invest $ 45 million in African startups next year.

Toyota plans to invest $ 45 million in transportation and asset finance startups in Africa in 2021, Takeshi Watanabe, CEO of Mobility 54, the investment fund launched by the Japanese automaker in August , told Reuters. 2019, which aims to invest in African startups equipped with innovative mobility services and technologies and support the expansion of these companies.

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These investments will be of the same type as the one made recently in Uganda, where Toyota has invested $ 4 million in Tugende, a startup active since 2010 and specializing in leasing to very small urban transport companies, including motorcycle taxis and minibus-taxi. In November 2019, the Ugandan startup established itself in western Kenya with the intention of duplicating its presence in several other regions of the country and Africa in general. “We see huge potential for Tugende’s business in the taxi market ,  commented Takeshi Watanabe.

Boost Toyota vehicle sales

In fact, Mobility 54 is Toyota’s strategic weapon to boost its vehicle sales in Africa. When its investment fund finances a transportation and asset financing startup, it offers Toyota products, whether it’s motorcycles or any other vehicle. The financing activity of very small transport companies such as Tugende conceals a level of manageable risk according to the startup, which only issues the title on the vehicles once the credit has been fully repaid by the entrepreneurs. Loans deemed too risky are subject to the same conditions as bank loans. By paying a weekly draft 15% higher than what these small entrepreneurs pay to rent their vehicles,

To penetrate more deeply into African markets, the large global groups are increasingly refining their strategies. If Toyota has found the trail of investment in credit, the firm also intends to be more present on the continent under its construction activities, since after South Africa and Egypt, the Japanese group is working on the creation of a vehicle assembly plant in Côte d’Ivoire . However, it is difficult to know where the project is in the tense electoral context that prevails there.

Without necessarily advancing on the track of financing, the German Porsche, among others, is also preparing an offensive on the African markets. The Stuttgart-based firm has just entrusted its business development in Africa to new managers, with the objective of establishing a new strategy on the continent.

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