Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, have signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to further the development of the Kigali Innovation City (KIC) project.
The KIC innovation hub is expected to house four international universities, innovative firms focused on agriculture, healthcare and financial services; and supporting infrastructure including commercial and residential space.
Recently, KIC got support from French media firm Vivendi to hep Rwanda create over 50,000 jobs, to generate $150 million in ICT exports annually and to attract over $300 million in foreign direct investment.
Under the deal, the two bodies will set up a JV to co-develop, finance, construct and operate commercial components of KIC. The Government of Rwanda will provide land and fund ancillary infrastructure such as roads, lighting, power supply and other horizontal “plug and play” enablers. RDB, along with the Government of Rwanda, will also ensure facilitation of macro and micro enablers including policy-led tax incentives that aid bankability of the transaction and allow for effective private sector participation.
Honorable Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda said: “The Kigali Innovation City is a key component of our strategy to transform Rwanda into a knowledge-based economy and leading investment destination. It will attract innovation-driven enterprises and stimulate strategic partnerships that will further develop our growing tech sector, by nurturing inclusive growth and impacting the lives of thousands of people in Rwanda and beyond.”
Rwanda aims to use KIC to help it diversify and modernize its economy and position it as a business hub in the heart of Africa. KIC will enable investors to develop technologies, prove new concepts and scale in Rwanda.
Clare Akamanzi, CEO of RDB, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Government, added “We are excited to have reached another key milestone and to partner with Africa50 in the development of Kigali Innovation City. Africa50 has the expertise to speed up project development, and the ability to structure the financing while leveraging funds from development finance institutions and private sector investors.”
Africa50’s investor base is currently composed of 28 African countries, the African Development Bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), and Bank Al-Maghrib, with over US$871 million in committed capital.
Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobissé emphasized that, “We are proud to be part of this landmark infrastructure project, working with the Government of Rwanda, RDB, and the private sector. Innovation and technology are critical for Africa’s sustainable development, providing higher value-added exports and improved services. Signing the JDA will help crowd in private sector investment, which is in line with our mandate to mobilize financing to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure in Africa.”