Rwandans who are making resolutions for New Year are now allowed to add on their list ‘driving a Made in Rwanda brand new car before end of next year-2017’.
The Government of Rwanda and Volkswagen (VW) have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a new integrated mobility concept in Kigali.
Fresh from penning the deal with RDB, the VW executives met with President Paul Kagame and presented him a gift.
The deal include an assembling plant, service stations, and training local mechanics which will not only see Rwanda become a center of excellence but expansion point for Volkswagen vehicles to the rest of Africa.
The plant is set to be an environmentally compatible local vehicle production facility.
Latest generation of Volkswagen, including Tiguan Passat is among the cars that will be assembled in Rwanda, thus increasing more and more the percentage of SUVs in the country and the region.
The deal will also bring an option of car sharing and ride hailing in Rwanda, whereby one can for example choose to share a drive with others or to rent instead of keeping own car. This option is common and cost-effective in Europe.
In the long run, VW will even collaborate with other German companies to establish a technical academy in Rwanda, according to RDB.
While signing the MoU with Government of Rwanda, Volkswagen officials said the company has set aside a lump sum of over €1 million to start off the venture.
“We have come to Rwanda because we believe in the investment climate here. Our plan has been to expand in Africa and Rwanda was the most evident and unquestionable destination for us to expand our mobility services to another level,” said Thomas Shaefer, Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa at the signing.
Representing the Government of Rwanda, Francis Gatare the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said this partnership with Volkswagen is just the beginning of country’s plan to promote made-in- Rwanda products but also proves the confidence that Germans have for Rwanda.
“This partnership is a proof that we (Rwanda) are good partners and from this experience of skills transfer and promotion of local products, Volkswagen will want to emulate it elsewhere on the continent,” Gatare said.
Dr Herbert Diess, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brand witnessed the signing.
The Rwanda assembly plant will be the third of its kind in Africa after South Africa where the company is operating since the last sixty years. The second assembly plant was also opened in Nairobi, Kenya this Wednesday December 21, 2016.
“The government will have to start thinking of expanding its roads network as more Rwandans will definitely want to get a share of these cars,” said one Hitler Mbonigaba, who owns a driving license but has only dreamt of owning a car.
Rwanda finds that Volkswagen venture intends to provide a new impetus for the development of individual mobility in the country which, till date does not have an established vehicle industry.
Given country’s young population which is embracing new technology, RDB officials believe that VW’s approach will be quickly assimilated in Rwanda.
In addition, Rwanda is strongly committed to sustainable energy production. Thus, in the medium term, Volkswagen plans to investigate the use of electric vehicles such as the e-up! or the e-Golf in Rwanda.