Europe’s biggest carmaker, Volkswagen will launch a car assembly facility in Rwanda on Wednesday, the first such factory in the East African nation as expands its presence in the region.
According to the country’s tax collection, Car ownership remains low in the nation of 12 million people with just over 200,000 private cars registered since 1997.
But Volkswagen, which already builds vehicles in nearby Kenya, hopes not just to sell vehicles but for them to also be used in an Uber-like car-sharing system where people will use their smartphones to book rides.
The German automaker in January said that it initially plans to build up to 5,000 cars per year, beginning with the Polo and Passat models.
The vice governor of Rwanda’s Central Bank, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, welcomed the move as an example of much needed investment in the nation, which receives over $1 billion in foreign aid and development assistance but has made business-friendly reforms in recent years.
“It is a vote of confidence for Rwanda, it is good for job creation in Rwanda and making Rwanda a trusted location for services and in this case, manufacturing.”