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December 10, 2019

New investor injects vigor into Kigali Innovation city with $400m kitty

Rwanda’s premier  tech hub project dubbed Kigali Innovation City (KIC) has received a huge financial shot in the arm through announcement that a pan-African infrastructure investment firm Africa 50 is set to invest $400 million   in the project’s on going construction phase.

The commitment to fund on going KIC’s construction program   was made during the recent Africa Investment Forum that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the   African Development Bank(AfDB) Group, one of the shareholders of Africa50 made the revelations.

At the meeting, AfDB reiterated the fact that its   $400 million   injection into KIC as one of the   top deals signed in boardroom meetings   at side lines of the forum ,is meant to “help boost the innovation ecosystem in Rwanda seen as  one of Africa’s top knowledge cities”.

KIC is designed as Rwanda’s leading tech hub. Rwandan policy makers say that  KIC upon completion is meant to be one of the major projects that Rwanda initiated to drive its ambitions  of becoming a knowledge-based economy.

The project located at the Kigali special economic zone   sits   on a 70 hectare plot and is valued at about $2 billion. It is designed   to accommodate world-class universities, technology companies, biotech firms, and commercial and retail real estate facilities.

Rwanda’s ICT and innovation minister, Paula Ingabire, said   after signing of the deal that the new investor   that is seemingly   set to take up equity position in KIC will focus on the real estate component of the project including setting up  retail and commercial complexes.

Africa50 as early stage equity investor is also meant as part of its commitment to fund the set   up of technology hub of the project dubbed digital innovation precinct ;  a major  KIC component meant to house all the technology firms   and residential facilities upon  completion.

She added that the government in its capacity as project promoter was committed to fund the project’s core infrastructure components such as building   of civil and electrical works meant to make the project more attractive to incoming investors.

 “KIC  is designed as a mixed-use development where people can live and work. Upon completion, KIC is meant to house   commercial rental offices  such as apartments and related hospitality  and retail facilities  like hotels and commercial complexes in order spur development of a vibrant tech hub,”

Ingabire explained.

The government has already carried out   the financial Modelling of the planned construction phase , highlighting that construction of real estate component will cost an estimated  $315 million

By Julius Bizimungu

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