Rwanda and Africa50 to fast-track operationalisation of Kigali smart city

An architectural design of Kigali Innovation City. [Courtesy]

Pan-African infrastructure investor and asset manager Africa50 has announced the signing of an Implementation Agreement (IA) with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwanda government for exclusive rights to develop, operate, and commercialise the 61-hectare Kigali Innovation City (KIC).

The IA, which was signed recently on the sidelines of the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Nairobi, seeks to unlock the next phase of development, following the unveiling of the urban master plan for KIC.

The project, once completed, will underpin the creation of a technology ecosystem for Rwanda and Africa by hosting four Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-focused universities, global technology companies, startup incubators and other technology players.

The agreement demonstrates the ambitions of Africa50, alongside RDB, to leverage its project development, structuring expertise, and convening power to attract new and deep pools of capital to back the transformative project.

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) will support the project as a lender for the initial phase of shared infrastructure construction. The new smart city advances Africa50’s strategy to develop and fund first-of-its-kind infrastructure assets that deliver high impact while generating attractive returns.

It is expected to stimulate $150 million (Sh19.5 billion) in ICT exports annually and attract over $300 million (Sh39 billion) in foreign direct investment. The KIC will also host Grade-A residential, commercial, retail and educational assets for local and international businesses and prominent institutions.

The city is expected to create more than 50,000 jobs, with over 2,600 students graduating from a growing community of world-class education and training institutions promoting digital and STEM skills.

“We will rush to implement and execute the agreed roadmap, with full support from the Government of Rwanda,” said Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Republic of Rwanda who signed the IA on behalf of the government.

Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire said they are committed to developing a thriving innovation ecosystem for Rwanda and the continent, which will support local, Pan-African and international tech companies to thrive.