Africa50 to spend $400m on Kigali Innovation City

Africa50 to spend $400m on Kigali Innovation City

Africa50,a pan-African infrastructure investment firm, will invest $400 million (about Rwf348.9 billion) in Kigali Innovation City, boosting Rwanda’s efforts to develop its tech hub.

The amount was revealed in a statement by the African Development Bank Group, one of the shareholders of Africa50. The development is the result of one of the 45 deals, worth $32 billion, signed during the just-concluded Africa Investment Forum.

The forum took place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The African Development Bank highlighted the $400 million cooperation agreement among the top deals signed in boardroom meetings and one of the key highlights of the conference, noting that it “will help boost the innovation ecosystem in one of Africa’s top knowledge cities”.

The Kigali Innovation City (KIC) is one of the major projects that Rwanda initiated to drive its ambitions of becoming a knowledge-based economy.

The project, valued at about $2 billion and located in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone, is set to accommodate world-class universities, technology companies, biotech firms, and commercial and retail real estate on 70 hectares of land.

Rwanda’s ICT and Innovation Minister, Paula Ingabire, told The New Times last week that Africa50 will focus on the real estate portion of the project, including building retail and commercial complexes.

She also said the government was looking at a period of about two years two finish most of the work they had set to do with Africa50, indicating that the institution will come in as an equity investor.

The minister also said Africa50 will work on what is known as the Digital Innovation Precinct. This is a facility that will house all the technology companies in KIC.

Another segment of the Digital Innovation Precinct will be a mix of residential facilities that will accommodate employees working for companies within the ecosystem.

“KIC has been designed as a mixed-use development where people can live and work. We have commercial rental offices, we have apartments and hotels and retail facilities,” Ingabire explained.

She disclosed that the Government has already done the financial modelling of these activities, highlighting that it will require $315 million (about Rwf278 billion), to implement the real estate segment of the project.

Under the terms of agreement, Africa50 will also help select additional partners, including other development finance institutions and private sector lenders.