Government of Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board and Africa50 sign Implementation Agreement to fast-track the Kigali Innovation City Project

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”.

Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investor and asset manager announced today 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 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.

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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 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.

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.

Supported by the GoR’s and in line with its broader transformation vision, KIC will benefit from certain incentives for developers, contractors, businesses within its ecosystem.

Hon. Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Republic of Rwanda who signed on the 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”.

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”.

Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital, and mobilizing private sector funding, with differentiated financial returns and impact.

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