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Volkswagen invest throughout Africa and plans to introduce EV Car-sharing in Rwanda

". . . plans to introduce car sharing and renting vehicles in the capital Kigali – all of which will, of course, be organized via an app and smartphone."

German car maker Volkswagen (VW) will be the first international automobile company to invest in Rwanda. The first cars are expected to be ready by May. For the future VW also plans to build electric cars in Rwanda.

If everything goes according to plan, the first car "made in Rwanda" could be on the streets as early as May, according to the German automobile giant. After South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, Rwanda is the fourth African country in which VW has invested.

"I think we have come to the right place," said Thomas Schäfer, managing director of VW in South Africa. "The attention, the focus and the will is here to implement this." Moreover, Schäfer said, he was impressed by the support from Rwanda's government right from the signing of the letter of intent in December 2016. He spoke of the government's anti-corruption drive and Rwanda's tech savvy younger population. The invester-friendly climate is one of the reasons why Rwanda is often treated as a "darling of the West," despite its democratic deficits.

The future is electric

As with the Kenyan plant which was opened in late 2016, VW only plans to assemble the cars in Rwanda. The parts will be imported from a manufacturing plant in South Africa. In the first production phase, which will last approximately one year, VW hopes to assemble 1,000 cars, which will include the Polo, Passat and SUV models.

The automaker plans to create between 500 and 1,000 jobs and it says that it will invest $20 million (€16 million). For Rwanda, this is an important move.

"Volkswagen's investment that they just announced is extremely important for Rwanda," said Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the state-run Rwanda Development Board. "It demonstrates that a global company like VW can find a vital business in Rwanda. One, that they can begin to assemble motor vehicles in Rwanda, which is something that has not been done in Rwanda before. And secondly that it can actually help to solve a transport problem in our country."