Zambia’s renowned UK-based professor Clive Chirwa, has unveiled an ambitious plan that will see him in partnership with AUVIV, a British registered specialised vehicles converter and manufacturer of bespoke commuter minibuses, cargo vans, police vans and ambulances set-up a vehicle assembly plant in Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia.
Chirwa said once operational, the automotive assembly plant will create about 1, 000 jobs for the people around the town and province at large.
Chirwa has designed and manufactured a high roof monocoque bus according to the provisions of the Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 79 of 2016 which the .
This is the first AUVIV bus to be manufactured in compliance with the Zambian traffic and transport laws.
“The reality is that this company is a global company manufacturing for the entire world. Zambia is one of the countries according to the company’s strategic plan where an assembly plant is earmarked. This will be in Kapiri Mposhi. This is where vehicle assemblies will be done from. There might be assemblies of perhaps not the entire vehicle but assemblies of AV electrical vehicle parts,” Chirwa added.
He said according to the company’s strategic plan, the vehicle assembly plant is expected to begin operations in 2022.
“We are a private company, entirely a private company, therefore, we don’t need anything from the government. But if there is any tax incentives and they will not be asking for it…that would be appreciated,” he said.
The academic who once headed Zambia Railways Limited, explained that the vehicle was specifically designed to take care of the local policies.
He said the AUVIV bus is expected to be a 21st century leading brand like Ford in the 19th Century and the Toyota in 20th century.
Chirwa said the vehicle parts that will be manufactured in Zambia will be supplied across the globe. “Manufacturing today is simpler as everything is done by specialist industries. Every single manufacturing company today is an assembly plant. It’s much simpler today to have an assembly plant. AUVIV is coming to Zambia today as a diesel and petrol engine simply because there is no infrastructure for charging points. If we had them, we would have brought electrical vehicles…so they are taking the electrical vehicle to Europe,” he pointed out.
Kapiri Mposhi member of parliament, Stanley Kakubo, described the development as good news. “The good news today is that Kapiri Mposhi will be home to our country’s motor vehicle assembly plant,” he enthused.
Kakubo added that AUVIV will be producing environmentally cleaner, safer, more comfortable and yet more affordable commercial vehicles like mini busses, panel vans including ambulances and refrigerated vans.
“I have to say that the AUVIV could not have come at a better time for us in Kapiri Mposhi. The plant will bring job opportunities for our people especially our youths. We are looking forward to skills training via the jobs that will come, the value chain for supplies of consumables, and we also see an opportunity for small businesses opening to make bolts and nuts and other parts that will be needed,” Kakubo said.