Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Africa50, a pan-African infrastructure investment platform, signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to further the development of the Kigali Innovation City (KIC) project.
Under the agreement, RDB and Africa50 will establish a joint venture company and work with other strategic partners to co-develop, finance, construct and operate commercial components of KIC.
Clare Akamanzi, CEO of RDB, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Government said, “KIC will build on our economic success, helping us further diversify and modernize our economy my 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.”
“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,” Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobissé further stated.
KIC is a pan-African focused technology 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. It is one of the major projects that Rwanda initiated to drive its ambitions of becoming a knowledge-based economy.
While Africa50 will apply its expertise in infrastructure development to ensure effective implementation of the project, the Government will provide land and fund ancillary infrastructure such as roads, lighting, power supply and other horizontal enablers.
Located in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone in Gasabo District, the project is valued at about $2 billion. The duo had initially in November 2018 signed a Term Sheet during the Africa Investment Forum. Africa50 had agreed to invest $400 million into the project.
A similar digital innovation hub exists in Braamfontein, a central suburb of Johannesburg. It is an incubation of start-ups, commercialisation of research and development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youths.
The project has set ambitious targets to create over 50,000 jobs, generate $150 million in ICT exports annually and attract over $300 million in foreign direct investment.