BioNTech Opens mRNA Vaccine Plant in Rwanda

Announced in 2021, the project of setting up a vaccine production facility in Rwanda is finally materializing in December 2023. It is to be recalled that an MoU between the Government of Rwanda and German firm BioNTech was signed back in 2021 to set up a vaccine factory in the Gasabo Special Economic Zone (#SEZ).

Initially designed to ramp up production of #mRNA vaccines for #COVID, the plant will now reorient its production towards other prevalent diseases in Africa such as malaria and tuberculosis. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in June 2022 in the presence Rwanda President Paul Kagame, #AUC Chair Moussa Faki and #WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus.

Groundbreaking Ceremony for mRNA Production Facility in Rwanda

The state-of-the-art facility is built based on a modular design consisting of specially modified containers called BioNTainers. As such, the solution can be easily adapted to local conditions or scaled up as demand grows.

Initially, the Facility will span 30,000 square meters and is expected to have a production capacity of 50 million doses annually. The products are not only destined for the local market in Rwanda for other countries in Eastern Africa. The Facility is expected create about 100 highly qualified and high-paying jobs by 2024.

BioNTech is in talks with Senegal and South Africa to set up similar production facilities in West and Southern Africa respectively. As a matter of fact, Senegal President Mack Sall is the guest of honor for the official opening ceremony.

Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is also among the guests invited to the launch. In fact, the project is valued at EUR 1.2 billion and will be financed by EU Global Gateway Initiative (#GGI). Minister Baerbock highlighted that Germany is contributing nearly half of the total for the Facility, that is EUR 550 million.