The young population in Africa (average age: 19 years) wants to move forward and wants to establish something in their countries. Also, the demand for individual mobility is gigantic: While there are about 670 vehicles per 1.000 citizens in Germany, this number stands at only 30 vehicles in Southern Africa. The potential therefore is huge and African states seem willing, to harness this potential at last. For example, 44 African states in April signed the Africa Free Trade Agreement, which creates a massive free trade zone – an important course-setting on the way to more growth and development.
Rwanda in a way is the model student among the aspiring African states. While the country, which experienced a civil war with gruesome cruelties during the mid-1990s, is still among the poorest in the world, Rwanda’s economic growth for years has been at around seven percent. The political environment is promisingly stable, the government under president Paul Kagame acts decisively against corruption and it worked out an ambitious innovation roadmap for the coming decades.
There is a well-developed road network which is continously upgraded. Statistics show that three quarters of the population have a mobile phone, internet usage is mainly mobile. Especially the capital, Kigali, is inhabited by young and well-trained people, who helped develop the metropolis into a regional start-up centre. Rwanda is strongly committed to become a leader in innovation in Africa.
Sustainable growth in Africa
Volkswagen wants to utilize the chances in Africa and wants to significantly expand its commitment. Other than in Rwanda, Volkswagen is already present in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and in Algeria. The sub-Saharan strategy is driven by the Volkswagen Group South Africa. On the long run the plan is to play a leading role in the development of a strong automotive industry on the continent.
People in the region will strongly benefit of this. Volkswagen’s commitment in Rwanda not only creates jobs in production, service and management, but also includes extensive training offers. For this, Volkswagen together with further German companies looks into a cooperation to establish a technical academy. On the long run the aim is to thereby boost employment, know-how transfer and sustainable growth. Germany’s federal government by establishing its “Marshall Plan with Africa” appealed for a stronger commitment of business in the region. Through its commitment in Rwanda, Volkswagen is among the first companies to decisively heed this call. From Wednesday onward Volkswagen will be a new significant factor on the streets of Kigali.