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RDB, Africa50 Partner to Boost Rwanda’s Silicon Valley

by Edmund Kagire
8:29 pm

CMU – part of Kigali Innovation city

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to further the development of the Kigali Innovation City (KIC) project.

The development follows the signing of a Term Sheet during the Africa Investment Forum in November 2018 in the presence of Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente.

KIC is a pan-African focused innovation hub that will house four international universities, innovative firms focused on agriculture, healthcare and financial services; and supporting infrastructure including commercial and residential space.

Africa50 will apply its expertise in infrastructure development to ensure effective implementation of the project.

Under the JDA, RDB and Africa50 will establish a joint venture company and work with strategic partners 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.

The Minister of ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda said the project will boost innovation and investment.

“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,” Minister Ingabire said

According to Clare Akamanzi, CEO of RDB, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Government, the partnership marks a major milestone for Rwanda’s ICT sector and a step towards achieving a digital, knowledge based economy.

“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. KIC will build on our economic success, helping us further diversify and modernize our economy while positioning Rwanda as a business hub in the heart of Africa. KIC will enable investors to develop technologies, prove new concepts and scale in Rwanda,” Akamanzi said

Alain Ebobissé, the Africa50 CEO said the project will be critical in putting technology at the heart of sustainable development.

“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,” Ebobissé said.

KIC has set ambitious targets to create over 50,000 jobs, over the life of the project, to generate $150 million in ICT exports annually and to attract over $300 million in foreign direct investment.

Last year, African Development Bank (AfDB), through Africa50 committed to invest $400 million in KIC in a bid to boost innovation ecosystems on the continent and support Rwanda’s effort to establish the $2 billion facility located in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone.

With world-class universities, technology companies, biotech firms, and commercial and retail real estate on 70 hectares of land, KIC is considered to be Rwanda’s very own Silicon Valley and one of the few highly developed innovation cities on the continent.