German vehicle maker Volkswagen (VW) officially unveiled its production facility in Kenya as it strengthens its presence in emerging markets.
During the inauguration of the assembly plant in the East African country, VW showcased its first locally assembled passenger vehicle, dubbed Polo Vivo.
The plant is expected to produce cars for Kenya as well as the wider East African market. The company announced a return to Kenya after almost four decades out. The company’s last engagement with Kenya dates back to 1977.
The company’s CEO Herbert Diess said, “Today marks a milestone in relations between Kenya and German industry. The new Volkswagen production here in Thika stands for great jobs, leading technologies and strategic investment. But it is more than just a plant, this opening could be the start point of a bigger economic success story in Africa.”
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the investment by the vehicle firm was in line with government’s policy to industrialize the country’s economy.
“Today is a great day for some of us because it is the beginning once again of Kenya’s industrialization journey. I want to thank the VW group for their decision to once again re-invest in Kenya,” said Kenyatta.
The decision by the Volkswagen Group to invest in Kenya resonates well with my Administration’s stated policy to industrialize our economy. pic.twitter.com/SAjUisaNpW— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) December 21, 2016
Meanwhile, the German vehicle firm has launched plans for a ride sharing service in Rwanda as it seeks to take advantage of surging car demand in the continent
“I call it an important milestone because as everyone knows we have been championing the made in Rwanda initiative to insure that most of the good services that Rwandans its residents use, are made in Rwanda as a way to reduce dependence on imports and also to promote exports,” said Francis Gatare, Director General of Rwanda Development Board.
Volkswagen expansion into East Africa is expected to create employment and help communities build capacity for the entire automotive sector.