German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) is set to open an automobile assembly plant in Kigali, Rwanda, according to the New Times. On Wednesday, Head of the Rwanda Development Board, Francis Gatare, along with the Chairman of VW Group, Herbert Diess, and CEO of VW South Africa, Thomas Schäfer, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build a 5,000 capacity vehicle assembly plant in Kigali by the end of 2017.
Speaking at the signing, Schäfer said the brand was expanding its foothold in the African market, while building local capacity.
“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.”
VW says it plans to produce a line of affordable environmentally friendly cars, based on VW’s Think Blue energy saving initiative.
Gatare revealed that the new facility will be in line with Rwanda’s overarching developmental policy directive, which seeks to leverage on science and technology to create jobs and grow the economy. He added that the plant will facilitate the transfer of technology, while developing a skilled workforce in the local community.
“We welcome Volkswagen and its innovative approach to mobility concepts in Rwanda. The signature of this Memorandum of Understanding today is a further step on our path to digitization and modernization.
“The project will not only bring a plant to assemble Volkswagen cars, but also service centers to handle repairs. This is the kind of car people should start getting ready to buy.”
In September, VW signed a deal with the Kenyan government to assemble its Polo Vivo line of vehicles at the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers facility in the town of Thika. The car manufacturer also has similar vehicle production facilities in South Africa and Nigeria.