By David Himbara
President Paul Kagame gave Rwanda to Volkswagen. Volkswagen will run Rwanda as taxi business. Volkswagen will own all cars and even hire drivers. It all began on December 21, 2016. That is when Kagame made a deal with Herbert Diess Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen and Thomas Schaeffer Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa.
Publicly, they announced that Volkswagen would assemble and sell VW cars in Rwanda. But that is not the deal. The deal is entirely different.
Volkswagen’s purpose in Rwanda is not to sell cars
Kagame and Volkswagen spoke of three models for Rwanda – Polo, Passat, and Teramont. These cars are not cheap.
A new VW Polo Vivo costs R179,300 in South Africa. That translates into US$14,691. In the Rwandan currency that becomes RWF12,386,850.
The basic VW Passat costs R494 700 in South Africa, which is equivalent to US$40,534 – or RWF34,179,178.
A basic VW Teramont SUV costs over US$50,000 which is equivalent to RWF42,156,188.
With a per capita of US$702, hardly any Rwandan can afford VW Polo let alone the Passat or Teramont.
What Kagame gave Volkswagen is a captive market to run a similar business to Uber
Basically Kagame handed over Rwanda to Volkswagen to run a monopoly taxi service. Taxi customers in Kigali will ride in brand new VW vehicles. Volkswagen will own all vehicles. Kagame Capital City will be the cleanest in Africa – no more old junk cars anywhere on Kagame’s clean roads.
Here is Volkswagen’s CEO Thomas Schaeffer explaining how he captured Rwanda in his own words.
Very simply, Kagame gave Rwanda to Volkswagen to run a monopoly Uber type of scheme. Volkswagen will even employ the drivers, unlike Uber. Kagame threw Rwandan small businesses who run taxis under the bus. Rwanda belongs to Volkswagen. Two questions remain unanswered: What is the kickback to Kagame? Is Crystal Ventures somewhere in the background?