Volkswagen to build car assembly plant in Rwanda

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The government of Rwanda has signed a Memorandum of understanding with Volkswagen Group for a new integrated mobility concept as the German car manufacturer takes further steps to develop its market potentials on the African continent.

Volkswagen on Wednesday signed a deal with Rwanda Development Board  for the construction of a vehicle assembly plant in Rwanda, officials told a news conference

Through RDB the government of Rwanda has signed a Memorandum of understanding with Volkswagen Group for a new integrated mobility concept as the German car manufacturer takes further steps to develop its market potentials on the African continent.

With this MOU Volkswagen will next year build an assembling plant, service stations, and training local mechanics as part of the new deal which will not only see Rwanda become a center of excellence but expansion point for Volkswagen vehicles to the rest of Africa.

Volkswagen has set aside a lump sum of over Euro1million to start off a Rwanda-VW assembly plant and mobility center, and set it service stations around the country after conducting a feasibility study by early 2017.

The signing took place this evening at Marriot Hotel. On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, the MoU was autographed by CEO Francis Gatare of Rwanda Development Board while CEO Thomas Schäfer of Volkswagen Group in South Africa signed for the car manufacturer. The signing was witness among others by Dr. Herbert Diess, the CEO of the Volkswagen brand.

The concept provides for app-based mobility solutions such as car sharing and ride hailing to be offered in Rwanda. For this purpose, an environmentally compatible local vehicle production facility is to be established in Kigali to cover vehicle demand for the integrated mobility concept.

In addition, possibilities of training initiatives for the local population are being investigated together with other German companies.

Rwanda is well suited to be a pioneer of new mobility solutions as it has a population of young tech-savvy people and its capital Kigali is seen as the most connected city on the continent.

“Volkswagen is consistently developing market potentials in Africa. Only a few hours ago, we inaugurated our third production facility in Africa in Kenya. Today in Rwanda, we are launching a concept that will foster individual mobility in this rapidly developing country and make this market a further pillar of the Volkswagen brand’s commitment to Africa,” Thomas Schäfer said.

Thomas Schäfer further added that the implementation of the MoU will start with an investigation phase in January next year; and if all goes as planned, the first cars will be assembled in Rwanda before end 2017.

“We welcome Volkswagen and its innovative approach to mobility concepts in Rwanda. Our country is determined to become the leading innovator in Africa. The signature of this memorandum of understanding today is a further step on our path to digitalisation and modernisation,” said CEO Francis Gatare of RDB.

The concept includes car sharing and ride hailing services as well as the establishment of a local production facility in accordance with the environmental standards of Volkswagen’s Think Blue.

The vehicles required for the new mobility solutions in Rwanda are to be taken entirely from local production. Volkswagen South Africa is forging ahead with this initiative in Rwanda together with Volkswagen’s Kenyan partner DT Dobie based on current experience from the establishment of production in Kenya.

Volkswagen’s commitment to Rwanda also includes the training of local people. The possibility of cooperation for the establishment of a technical academy is being investigated together with other German companies. In the long run, the objective is to generate employment, know-how transfer and sustainable growth

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