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Kigali Innovation City Project: Government of Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board, Africa50 sign fast-tracking Implementation Agreement


By Rebecca Ekpe

Delivering a transformative tech community to Africa with the goal of delivering new skills and jobs that will impact positively and change lives is the premise on which, Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investor and asset manager announced the signing of an Implementation Agreement (IA) with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Government of Rwanda (GoR) for exclusive rights to develop, operate, and commercialise the 61-hectare Kigali Innovation City (KIC).

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. The smart city is expected to stimulate $150 million in ICT exports annually and attract over $300 million in foreign direct investment.

Furthermore, the implementation Agreement (IA), which was signed on Friday 31 May 2024 on the sidelines of the African Development Bank Annual Meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, unlocks the next phase of development following the unveiling of the urban masterplan for KIC. The landmark project, once completed, will underpin the creation of a technology ecosystem for Rwanda and Africa by hosting four world class 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 Kigali Innovation City(KIC) will host Grade-A residential, commercial, retail, and educational assets for local and international businesses and prominent institutions. The master-planned city will lead to the creation of 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 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills, which include Carnegie Mellon University Africa, the Africa Leadership University, the University of Rwanda Centre of Biomedical Engineering and E-health and African Institute of Mathematical Science.

Speaking at the signing event in Nairobi, Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, said: “This signing is a pivotal moment in the development of KIC, bringing us closer to delivering a transformative tech community to Africa that delivers new skills and jobs and positively changes lives. Africa50 and our distinguished partners are creating pathways for local and international businesses to access new markets. It also supports Rwanda’s ambition to support an Africa that does not only consume technology but also produces technology”.

Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board at the signing said, “I am proud of the milestone we have achieved together with Africa50 and the technical teams. This paves the way to accelerate the project and deliver the impact we all aspire to”.

Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Republic of Rwanda who signed on behalf of the government said, “This milestone is exciting as this is one of the flagship projects in Rwanda, and part of our strategy and ambition to build a knowledge-based economy. We will move speedily to implement and execute the agreed roadmap, with full support from the Government of Rwanda”.

Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda, who witnessed the signing said, “We are pleased about the partnership and committed to developing a thriving innovation ecosystem for Rwanda and for the continent, which will support local, pan-African and international tech companies thrive”.

Kigali Innovation City Project:

The Implementation Agreement sets out the principles of cooperation for the construction, operations and commercialization of KIC

The 61-hectare smart-city will deliver resource-efficient green infrastructure at scale to support universities, technology companies, among others, to create a technology ecosystem for Rwanda and Africa

The flagship project will stimulate $150 million in ICT exports annually and attract over $300 million in foreign direct investment, while creating over 50,000 jobs upon completion

Over 2,600 students are expected to graduate annually from universities resident at KIC, adding to Rwanda’s and Africa’s pool of tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

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