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Production Sites

Another Milestone in Africa

Volkswagen has launched an integrated mobility concept in Rwanda. In addition to a local vehicle production facility, this also includes a car-sharing service in the capital of Kigali.

Thomas Schäfer speaks with Michaella Rugwizangoga, who heads the new location in Rwanda. The new location is creating up to 1,000 new jobs.

These days, the first ports of call for anyone looking to get around in the Rwandan capital of Kigali are a shared taxi or motorbike taxi. There’s also the option of a bus, if one ever turns up, but you can generally expect to join a long line waiting for it. With only a few people in Rwanda owning their own car, personal mobility here is still in its infancy. What’s more, despite being home to 12 million inhabitants, there is still no established automotive industry in this country. This makes the integrated mobility concept recently launched by Volkswagen a huge step toward the future for the country and its people. In addition to the local vehicle production facility, the concept also involves innovative mobility services such as car sharing and ride hailing. These are managed via an app and offer personal mobility options for a wider cross section of the population. The project is starting with a community car-sharing scheme, which is aimed primarily at companies in the capital city of Kigali. A ride-hailing service is then set to follow in the coming months, which is intended to offer an alternative to conventional taxis.

“Rwanda has huge potential. It’s a young, modern country that is keen to develop its personal mobility options. With the range of new facilities that have been specially designed for the region, including local production, new car businesses and innovative mobility services, we are looking to take advantage of opportunities for growth and gain new perspectives,” explains Thomas Schäfer, who is responsible for the Sub-Saharan region as well as being Chairman and MD of Volkswagen Group South Africa. Together with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Schäfer gave the official green light for the project in Kigali at the end of June.

“We mustn’t let Africa become a dumping ground for old cars, as we will still end up paying a high price for these in the long run anyway,” notes Kagame. “If we are already spending a lot of money on old cars, then why not start investing in something new? As Africans, we deserve better, and this project with Volkswagen is showing us how we can achieve it. This is why our promising cooperation with Volkswagen is a strong starting point for us."

“Rwanda could easily become a blueprint for other emerging countries in Africa and around the world.”

Thomas Schäfer, Chairman and MD Volkswagen Group South Africa

Employees at the local production facility in Kigali assemble Passat and Polo models. Production of 1,000 vehicles a year is scheduled during the start-up phase, with the potential for up to 5,000 going forward.

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame (left), and Thomas Schäfer gave the green light for the project.


Rwanda is home to around 12 million people. In some ways, this East African country can be thought of as the model student of the emerging African nations. Economic growth has been at around seven percent for years now, political relations are promisingly stable, and the road network is well developed. What’s more, plenty of young, tech-savvy and well-educated people live in the capital city, Kigali (1.2 million inhabitants).

Volkswagen Locations in the Sub-Sahara region


Started in: 2018
Location: Kigali
Capacity: > 5,000 Units p.a.


Started in: 2015
Location: Lagos
Capacity: > 10,000 Units p.a.


Started in: 2016
Location: Nairobi
Capacity: > 5,000 Units p.a.

South Africa

Started in: 1951
Location: Uitenhage
Capacity: 170,000 Units p.a.

Further locations already being planned!