BioNTech “BioNTainers” Arrive in Rwanda

BioNTech “BioNTainers” Arrive in Rwanda

Vaccine manufacturing has taken a big step today as large steps are taken to opening Africa’s first mRNA manufacturing plant (photo from BioNTech).

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Presently, 99% of the vaccines that Africa as a continent uses, are manufactured outside of Africa. However, German biotechnology company, BioNTech, is seeking to change that. In June 2022 the ground was broken for a fully modernized mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, which will be the very first mRNA manufacturing plant in the entire continent. And now on March 13th 2023, exactly 3 years after the first Covid-19 case was detected in Rwanda, the “BioNTainer” has arrived in Rwanda, a very important step in making the facility operational. Rwanda’s manufacturing plant is to be operational within a year now that the BioNTainers have arrived, and will staff 100 people by 2024.

The “BioNTainer” is a modular manufacturing facility comprised of 6 shipping container like components, which when put together form the facility. BioNTech posted a video showing a detailed breakdown of the facility and the function of each portion, which may be viewed below.

Rwanda is receiving two of these highly portable and advanced facilities after they finished construction and underwent quality checks in December, and were then prepared for shipment to Kigali.


One of the BioNTainer pieces being loaded off the plane as it is received at Kigali International Airport, March 13th, 2023 (photo from @Paulkagame on Twitter).

BioNTech plans in the future to send BioNTainers to Senegal, and “potentially” South Africa.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame took to twitter, saying the containers arrival is a “historic milestone”.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.
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