More embarrassing details have emerged about General Paul Kagame and Volkswagen deal. VW so-called manufacturing in Rwanda involves only installing glass and tires to the vehicles. The source of the details is Karim Naggar, chairperson of Kayan International Trade, agent of Volkswagen, Seat, and Skoda in Egypt. Naggar explained that VW in Rwanda is “just an assembly plant of simple car parts.” The Volkswagen factory in Rwanda “is limited to the installation of car glass and tires in addition to other simple work.” Therefore, VW cars in Rwanda have zero local content which no serious country promoting manufacturing, such as Egypt can allow. Naggar also ruled out the possibility of Rwanda exporting VW cars. VW cars in Rwanda “do not fall under the terms of the COMESA agreement.”
So, why did VW choose Rwanda?
Naggar explained that VW’s entry into Rwanda was mainly due to the generous support and facilities offered by the Rwandan government:
“Rwanda did not require manufacturing any local components of the German car locally, in addition the country provide the necessary infrastructure to establish the plant. Rwanda also provided customs and tax exemptions.”
In other words, VW paid zero taxes, and got free infrastructural support. And VW will not export. VW in Rwanda is essentially a chauffeured rental car company – and is listed as such. As of June 2019, VW had 21 cars in its rental services.
Kagame’s VW deal is a sham. Kagame’s main interest was to boast that Rwanda manufactures cars. Never mind that all VW in Rwanda does is to instal glass and tires to the vehicles shipped from South Africa. What a shame.