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Volkswagen launches assembly plant in Rwanda

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- German automaker Volkswagen (VW) on Wednesday formally launched a car assembling plant in Rwanda, which will see 20 million U.S. dollars invested in the first phase of its operations.

The German carmaker will begin assembling three models: the Hatchback Polo, the Passat and possibly the Teramont, a large sports utility vehicle, according to Michaella Rugwizangoga, chief executive officer of Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda, VW’s branch.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame unveiled the assembling plant located at the Kigali Special Economic Zone located in Rwandan capital city Kigali.

The launch saw the unveiling of the first Volkswagen car that was assembled in Rwanda.

Africa does not need to be a dumping ground for second-hand cars, or second-hand anything, because in the long run Africans may end up paying a higher price anyway, said Kagame.

“If you pay a high price for second hand, why not pay for something new. Africa and Rwanda deserve better and this is one way of showing we can afford it,” he added.

The Rwandan leader noted that Africa is not merely positioning itself as a new low-cost hub to manufacture goods for export. African consumers will also be among the biggest contributors to growth in global demand in the years ahead, he said.

“Some found it hard to believe that German cars could really be built in Rwanda. Yet today, the first vehicles are rolling off the assembly line. One of the first vehicles to come to Rwanda was Volkswagen,” Kagame said.

The Rwandan plant will have the capacity to assemble up to 5,000 cars per year, creating up to 1,000 jobs per year, according to Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda.

According to Thomas Schaefer, the chairman and managing director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda will incorporate a retail outlet including sales and service, an on-site assembly facility, a training center and a full suite of mobility services.

“Rwanda is a stable country that has provided conducive environment to investors. Volkswagen is pleased to have opened its plant in Rwanda after Kenya. This will not only enable Rwandans buy brand new Volkswagen cars, but will provide employment opportunities to them,” he said at the launch.

Rwanda relies heavily on imported second hand cars, and the launch of Volkswagen operations plant will gradually phase out the used imports, according to the Rwanda Development Board.



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