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Volkswagen's Uber rival enjoys support from Rwanda's govt

Volkswagen's Uber rival enjoys support from Rwanda's govt

Volkswagen's plan to provide app-based mobility solutions that include a car sharing and ride hailing service in Rwanda by the end of 2017 has the full support of the country's government according to its representatives.

Volkswagen Group South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding for the launch of a new integrated mobility concept in Kigali last month. Rwanda's government says the upcoming investment is well-suited because the country boasts a population of young and tech-savvy people.

Francis Gatare Director of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has hailed VW's foray into Rwanda which includes an investigation into possibilities of training initiatives for the local population.

"We welcome Volkswagen and its innovative approach to mobility concepts in Rwanda. We may be a small country but we believe that we are a pioneer. Our country is determined to become the leading innovator in Africa. The signature of this memorandum of understanding is a further step on our path to digitisation and modernisation."

VW is also looking to establish an environmentally compatible local vehicle production facility in the nation's capital city to cover vehicle demand for the integrated mobility concept. The vehicles required for the new mobility solutions in Rwanda will all come from local production, according to the company.

Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Group South Africa said the move was part of a broader investment in Africa. "Volkswagen is consistently developing market potentials in Africa. Only a few hours ago, we inaugurated our third production facility in Africa in Kenya. Today in Rwanda, we are launching a concept that will foster individual mobility in this rapidly developing country and make this market a further pillar of the Volkswagen brand's commitment to Africa,"

A statement issued by the RDB indicates that Volkswagen will also be experimenting the use of electric vehicles such as the e-up! and the e-Golf in the medium term. The RDB also notes that while Rwanda does not have an established vehicle industry its average age of less than 20 years and early adoption of new technologies work in its favour.

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