The pilot project, which will form part of
Volkswagen’s operations in Rwanda, was officially announced today by Thomas
Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Group South Africa and responsible for the
Sub-Sahara Africa Region, in the presence of the Prime Minister of the Republic
of Rwanda, Right Honourable Dr. Edouard Ngirente.
During the pilot phase, four e-Golfs and one
charging station will be introduced in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali.
Volkswagen has signed a joint development agreement with Siemens to provide the
charging infrastructure for the electric cars.
With the launch of the pilot project, Rwanda
becomes the first African country to introduce a Volkswagen electric car.
Thomas Schäfer said: “The success of our innovative
and pioneering mobility solutions business has shown us that Rwanda has the
potential to leapfrog the internal combustion engines into electric cars. Rwanda
has a young and progressive population that appreciates individual and modern
mobility. Together with our development partner Siemens and with the support
from the Government of Rwanda, Volkswagen wants to make the e-Golf pilot
project in Rwanda a blueprint for electric mobility in Africa.”
Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO for Siemens Southern and Eastern
Africa said: “Our partnership with Volkswagen on this project solidifies our
commitment not only to Rwanda but to the East Africa region. By contributing towards shaping the African
market for intelligent, adaptive infrastructure, while addressing skills challenges
in this sector, Siemens is helping to build a more sustainable future for the
people of Rwanda.”
The pilot e-Golfs will be added into the Volkswagen
Mobility Solutions Rwanda fleet to provide customized mobility service.
The plan is to increase the number of the electric
cars to 50 units and 15 charging stations, depending on the outcomes of the
The drivers and technicians who will be working with
the electric cars have received specialized training in preparation for launch
of the pilot project.
“Africa’s youth need sustainable jobs and better
prospects for a future in their home countries. Therefore, German development
cooperation supports innovative ideas for vocational education and
environmentally friendly mobility concepts for African cities. In this respect,
initiatives such as Moving Rwanda are yet another step towards implementing the
Marshall Plan with Africa,” said Dr. Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister for
Economic Cooperation and Development.
The electric mobility project was developed within the
Moving Rwanda initiative, a cooperation between Volkswagen, Siemens, SAP and
Inros Lackner and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
(GIZ) GmbH. GIZ supported the e-mobility project by bringing together relevant
partners from the private and public sector and by advising on the development
benefits of the project.
The Moving Rwanda Initiative was established as the
result of Volkswagen’s initial investment in Rwanda, which saw the launch of
Africa’s first Integrated Mobility Solutions business in June 2018.
Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda offers mobility
solutions services such as ride-hailing and corporate car sharing. The services
are offered on the Move App, an innovative IT mobility solution which was
developed by a local IT start-up company, Awesomity Lab.
The services are offered using a fleet of vehicles assembled
at Volkswagen Rwanda’s assembly facility in Kigali. By the end of 2019,
Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda will have a fleet of more than 200
vehicles consisting of Polo, Amarok, Teramont and Passat.
Move App has about 27 000 registered users. Over
59 500 rides have been completed in the ride-hailing service since the
beginning of 2019.
Thomas Schäfer commented: “The integrated mobility
solutions business in Rwanda is our lighthouse project. In the past year, our
operations in Kigali have provided us with valuable lessons and business
intelligence which we plan to utilise in our growth strategy into other African
markets like Ghana and Ethiopia.”
expansion strategy gaining momentum
Africa is the last frontier for the automotive
industry. Volkswagen’s long term goal is to play a leading and pioneering role in
the development of the automotive industry in the continent. As such,
Volkswagen has significantly expanded its engagement in Africa with the
establishment of assembly facilities and marketing activities in Kenya, Rwanda
and Nigeria. Ghana and Ethiopia are planned as the next locations.