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VW’s African plans on track

Volkswagen has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a new integrated mobility concept in Kigali, Rwanda, that will result in an environmentally compatible local vehicle production facility being established in Kigali and has inaugurated its vehicle production facility in Kenya.

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Thomas Schäfer, the Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen South Africa (L) signs the memorandum of understanding with RDB Chief Executive Officer, Francis Gatera

This forms part of a VW initiative towards developing potential markets in Africa.

Rwanda Development Board director, Francis Gatare, and VWSA’s chief executive, Thomas Schäfer, signed an MoU for the new integrated mobility concept in Kigali on Wednesday in the presence of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and VW’s brand chief executive Herbert Diess.

VW said the concept provided for app-based mobility solutions, such as car sharing and ride hailing, to be offered in Rwanda and the production facility in Kigali was to satisfy vehicle demand for the integrated mobility concept.

VWSA is driving the initiative in Rwanda together with its Kenyan vehicle production partner, DT Dobie.

Training initiatives for the local Rwandan population are being investigated together with other German companies.

VW said Rwanda was well suited to be a pioneer of new mobility solutions because it had a population of young tech-savvy people and its capital Kigali was regarded as the most connected city in Africa.

Schäfer said VW was consistently developing market potential 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 VW brand’s commitment to Africa.”

Gatare welcomed VW and its approach to mobility concepts in Rwanda. “The signature of this MoU today is a further step on our path to digitalisation and modernisation,” he said.

The first locally produced vehicle, a Polo Vivo, rolled off the completed knocked down production line in Kenya on Wednesday. VW described the initiative as a key step in the development of new opportunity markets, with the right products, local partners and training in the region.

Diess highlighted Kenya’s key role within the VW brand’s Africa strategy. “VW is strengthening the production region of Africa and providing additional impetus for the further regionalisation of the brand - as a reliable and responsible partner. This is symbolised by the first Polo Vivo produced.

“In Kenya, we will be producing cars that bear comparison with European standards. This is why we are opting for training and local skills in production,” he said.

Diess said VW was strengthening the production region of Africa and providing additional impetus for the regionalisation of the brand. The joint project implemented with DT Dobie is VW’s third production plant in Africa.

VW also has vehicle plants in South Africa and Nigeria and recently announced plans to start production in Algeria.

Annual production of up to 1 000 vehicles is planned in the initial phase of the Kenyan plant, with production increasing in the longer term to 5 000 units a year at the plant of Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers.


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