RWANDA–German car maker Volkswagen on Wednesday launched its assembly plant in Rwanda, expected to assemble 5000 vehicles annually.
According to Thomas Schäfer, the chief executive Volkswagen Group South Africa, the Rwanda initiative launched at Kigali Special Economic Zone, incorporates a retail outlet including sales and service, an assembly facility, a training center and a full suite of mobility services which will be available via a locally designed app.
Volkswagen has injected an initial investment of $20 million in its Rwanda operations, said Schäfer.
The German car maker extending its operations in Rwanda from Kenya; will produce three car models namely the Hatchback Polo, the Passat and Teramont.
At the launch, Rwandan President Paul Kagame noted that Africa does not need to be a dumping ground for second-hand cars, or second-hand anything because in the long run, you end up paying a higher price anyway.
“If you pay a high price for second hand, why not pay for something new. Africa and Rwanda deserve better and this is one way of showing we can afford it,” he said.
Kagame pointed out that in the medium-term, the only way for East Africa to move up the industrial value chain from assembly to manufacturing is to build an integrated regional manufacturing base.
“This operation reminds us of the importance of working regionally. Our Kenyan brothers and sisters are a key part of this international team. Rwanda is benefitting directly from Volkswagen’s investment in Kenya,” he said.
According to Rwanda’s tax body, Rwanda imports over 7000 vehicles annually.