Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, has signed an agreement with the Republic of Rwanda to develop and finance a “Digital Innovation Precinct”, including commercial and retail complexes, as part of Kigali Innovation City (KIC). The announcement was made at a signing ceremony organized by Africa50 during the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Under the terms of the agreement Africa50 was appointed co-sponsor and partner of the project. It will apply its project development, financial structuring, and infrastructure development expertise, working alongside the Rwanda Development Board and other partners during the development phase. It will also help select additional partners, including other development finance institutions and private sector lenders, for the construction.
KIC is a flagship, pan-African project whose final value could approach $2 billion. It will house international universities, technology companies, biotech firms, and commercial and retail real estate in an area of 70 hectares. As a key component of the government’s Vision 2020 development program, KIC aims to attract technology companies from all over the world to Rwanda to create an innovation ecosystem and further a knowledge-based economy.
KIC should create over 50,000 jobs and generate $150 million in ICT exports annually, as well as attracting over $300 million in foreign direct investment. Over 2600 students are expected to graduate annually from its universities over 30 years, adding to Rwanda’s and Africa’s pool of tech-savvy entrepreneurs.
Honorable Edouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, said that, “Kigali Innovation City will be an Africa-focused innovation hub and a holistic ecosystem of technology clusters. This innovative effort is the first of its kind in the continent. It will have Pan-African development impact both in terms of economic and human capital. Considerable amount of work has been done in collaboration with Rwanda Development Board, Africa50 and other partners. The full success of this project requires concerted efforts to mobilize more private investors.”
For Alain Ebobisse, CEO of Africa50, the project has significant socio-economic impact and aligns well with our vision of promoting innovation and ICT development in Africa. KIC is an example of how we can partner with one of our shareholder governments to provide project development expertise leveraging their outstanding track record in doing business to mobilize capital for a farsighted, innovative project of global reach.”