Rwanda acquires BioNTainers for vaccine production

Tuesday March 14 2023
President Paul Kagame and BioNTech COO Sierk Pötting

Rwandan President Paul Kagame (right) during a meeting with BioNTech Chief Operating Officer Sierk Pötting on March 13, 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY


Rwanda has acquired its first modular container prototype known as BioNTainers which uses mRNA technology to produce vaccines.

"Historic milestone today as the first BioNtainers arrived in Rwanda, exactly 3 years since the first case of Covid-19 was detected in our country. This system will allow end-to-end mRNA vaccine production in Africa for the first time," said Rwandan President Paul Kagame in a tweet posted on Monday.

The BioNTainers are expected to commence manufacturing vaccines approximately 12 to 18 months after their installation.

Germany-based BioNTech says one container will produce mRNA vaccines while the second container will produce formulated bulk drug products. 

The plan is to use the same facility to manufacture malaria and tuberculosis vaccines.


The modular systems consist of 12 sea containers housing the same manufacturing process and equipment used in its factory. 

The Kigali plant is the first mRNA technology manufacturing hub, with similar facilities to be set up in Senegal and South Africa.  

Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia will receive technology from the hub to produce their own mRNA vaccines.