German car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) is expected to make public its highly anticipated plans for setting up an assembly plant in Rwanda this week.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Group South Africa, Thomas Schäfer, is expected to jet into the country for a series of meetings before addressing a news conference scheduled for Thursday.
Rwanda Development Board declined to confirm details of the announcement.
“Details will be revealed by VW in a media conference later this week,” RDB Head of Communications and Marketing, Sunny Ntayombya, said without divulging further details.
Among the details expected is the start date, the investments to be made and the number of jobs the new plant will add to the market as well as the production schedule.
The New Times understands that the car production is scheduled for August.
According to the MoU signed between VW and the Government of Rwanda, the car maker said it will start with a minimum production of about 2000 cars per year.
The plan is to assemble in Rwanda and supply neighbouring countries in addition to the local market.
The agreement, signed by two parties in December 2016, permits Volkswagen to start assembling cars in Rwanda that are affordable, easy to maintain and that are low on fuel consumption and gas emission.
The project is in line with Rwanda’s policies to protect the environment, create jobs, and make Rwanda a pioneer in technology and innovation.
Under the agreement, the Volkswagen cars will be up for lease or purchase in Rwanda.
In line with Volkswagen’s commitment to Rwanda and the training of local people, the firm is also looking to linking with other German companies to establish a local technical academy to facilitate transfer of technology and skills.
The move is also part of Volkswagen’s plan to develop markets in Africa and it came immediately after the firm inaugurated its third production facility on the continent, in Kenya. Two others are operational in Nigeria and South Africa.
VW is one of the largest suppliers of cars on the global market. In South Africa, VW is a major contributor to foreign direct investment, technology transfer, job creation, and skills development.
Rwanda has over the years worked on improving its doing business environment. Officials say the efforts are paying off as more and more companies pick interest in setting up shop in Rwanda.
“Rwanda is an amazing country; you have got processes that are super organised. I think Rwanda will be the blueprint for Africa. If we can get it right here, we will get it right in all other places in Africa,” VW’s Schäfer told The New Times in an interview last year.