Rwanda launches masterplan for Kigali Innovation City

Rwanda’s plans to construct a US$420 million innovation park in Kigali are gaining momentum, with the launch of the Kigali Innovation City masterplan.

By Chriselle Moraes on
4th February 2022

Kigali Innovation City (KIC) is a technology park planned to be constructed in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. It will be located on 61 hectares of land in Kigali's Special Economic Zone in the Gasabo District of Kigali city.

The KIC technology park project involves the development and construction of a mixed-use smart innovation hub and work-live-play community consisting of universities, Grade A offices, residential and student housing, retail facilities and hotels. 

The master plan, launched in December 2021, aims to combine smart solutions for facility management and incorporates green principles into the transportation modes used and also into the building design, construction and management. It includes green and open spaces for collaboration and innovative idea exchange.

The master plan implementation will commence with the construction of infrastructure such as roads, drainage, street lights and walkways, along with a mixed-use first building and visitor centre scheduled for 2022. The building will have office spaces, R&D facilities, start-up business incubators, and support facilities.

The project is being co-developed by Africa50, a pan African infrastructure investment firm, in joint venture with the Rwanda Development Board, and supported by Rwanda's Ministry of ICT and Innovation. Africa50 and the Rwanda Development Board are each investing equal 50-50 amounts in early-stage development activities to increase the bankability of the project, with a view to sourcing other investors to join at a later stage.

In December 2021, a US$20 million financing agreement was signed between Rwanda and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) to fund the development of basic infrastructure at KIC.

Commenting in the funding from BADEA, the Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, said “This financing from BADEA will allow Government to meets its execution commitments which are mainly to deliver key infrastructure including roads, utilities such as electricity and water as well as well as digital infrastructure.”

The KIC technology park already hosts the Carnegie Mellon University, Africa, and the African Leadership University as well as the University of Rwanda Centre of Biomedical Engineering and e-health which is still under construction. There are also plans for setting up the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

The KIC project is expected to position Rwanda as east Africa’s technology and business hub. This falls in line with the Rwandan government’s vision to transition the country into a knowledge-based economy. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) aims to use the project as a stepping stone in creating 50,000 jobs, generating US$150 million in ICT exports and generating US$300 million in foreign direct investment.

“We expect that there will be an even greater demand and supply for relevant technologies for the African context in multiple sectors due to the pandemic,” says Tesi Rusagara, managing director at Kigali Innovation City (KIC).

Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda said, ''Rwanda’s social and economic transformation agenda requires bold investments in innovation and technology. KIC provides both the physical infrastructure and ecosystem as we position Rwanda to become a pan African innovation hub and to grow our knowledge economy.''

Top Photo: Aerial view of city centre in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda (Jennifer Pillinger | Dreamstime)

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