French conglomerate Vivendi inks deal with Rwanda to develop cultural village

French conglomerate Vivendi inks deal with Rwanda to develop cultural village

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has entered into an agreement with Vivendi Group, a global leader in cultural content and media for the development and occupancy of the Kigali Cultural Village (KCV), the Board said in a statement.

The agreement, which was signed on Monday in Kigali is a 20-year lease agreement.

The Kigali Cultural Village will be located on Rebero Hill in Kicukiro sector, and the aim is to diversify Rwanda’s tourism sector by opening up new cultural entertainment avenues.

It sits on 30.1 hectares and will have facilities intended to showcase Rwanda’s traditional and contemporary arts, nature, biodiversity, traditional lifestyle and history.

The project is estimated to cost over $40 million, but Vivendi will spend somewhere between $3-4 million in the first phase of the project, according to RDB.

The first phase is expected to be completed in six months, RDB said.

Vivendi Group, a subsidiary of French Bolloré Holdings is a company primarily focused on digital entertainment.

It owns the French TV channel and movie producer Canal+ Group, as well as music world leader Universal Music Group, book publisher Editis, communication company Havas, video games company Gameloft, and video hosting service Dailymotion.

According to the statement, the decision to invest in Rwanda came after French investors, among them President of Bolloré Holdings Cyrille Bolloré, visited the country in January 2018.

“In a meeting with RDB, investment opportunities in different sectors including tourism were highlighted,” reads the statement in part.

KCV will include a 300-seat modern cinema hall, a 15,000-people open concert area, a food court and a children’s gaming area. The facility will run on sustainable energy.

The facilities will host 19 movie sessions a week, live concerts, cultural and artistic festivals, seminars and conferences.

Phase two will be initiated on completion of phase one and will include Universal recording studios, Escape games, Gameloft E-gaming laboratory and testing factory, a children’s playground, bars and restaurants and the Canal Factory.

The Canal Factory is a modern, compact TV, cinema and music recording studio. The infrastructure will be dedicated to Rwandan talents and students desiring to be trained in the fields of cinematography.

Clare Akamanzi, the RDB Chief Executive Officer praised the new investment, saying it was a good step for the country’s strategy which seeks to increase annual receipts to $800 million by 2024.

“This investment is a good step forward for the country’s MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) strategy that has been growing remarkably over the years,” she noted.

She added that through this facility, more Rwandans will get access to good jobs and youths employed in the arts will gain skills that they will be able to earn sustainably from and even export to the region.

This will also become Vivendi’s first investment in East Africa.

Akamanzi said with it, Rwanda will become a regional entertainment and cultural hub, and be in position to develop and export entertainment and cultural industry talent in the future.