…an Africa-focused tech hub housing varsities, financial services, agric, healthcare
…provides big lessons to Nigeria on leveraging ICT advantage
Rwanda, Africa’s shining example of robust economic management, has
edged further with realizing its pan-African focused tech hub, the Kigali Innovation City (KIC) project, as the country’s development board (RDB) has signed a joint development agreement (JDA) with Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, to develop, finance, and construct the KIC.
The KIC has set ambitious targets: to create over 50,000 jobs over the life of the project, generate $150 million in information and communication technology (ICT) exports annually, and attract over $300 million in foreign direct investment (FDI).
This provides big lessons to Nigeria, though with the largest internet
penetration in Africa, with 91.88 million active users, but is yet to
leverage on its vast ICT advantage.
The Rwanda’s incoming Kigali Innovation City, a major tech hub looks to blight Nigeria’s unharnessed huge tech potential.
A statement by Fleur Tchibota, head of communication at Africa50, said
KIC is a pan-African focused 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. Africa50 will apply its
expertise in infrastructure development to ensure effective implementation of the project.
Under the JDA, Rwanda Development Board and Africa50 will establish a
joint venture company and work with strategic partners to co-develop,
finance, construct and operate commercial components of KIC. The Rwanda
government will provide land and fund ancillary infrastructure such as
roads, lighting, power supply and other horizontal “plug and play”
Meanwhile, the RDB, along with the government, will also ensure facilitation of macro and micro enablers, including policy-led tax
incentives that aid bankability of the transaction; and allow for effective private sector participation.
It is recalled that a term sheet agreement was signed by the Africa50
and Rwanda government during the Africa Investment Forum in November 2018 in the presence of Edouard Ngirente, the Prime Minister of Rwanda.
Commenting on the recent develop, finance, build and operate signing,
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s minister of ICT and Innovation, said: “the Kigali Innovation City is a key component of our strategy to transform
Rwanda into a knowledge-based economy and leading investment destination.
It will attract innovation-driven enterprises and stimulate strategic partnerships that will further develop our growing tech sector, by nurturing inclusive growth and impacting the lives of thousands of people in Rwanda and beyond.”
Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of RDB, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Government, said it was another key milestone and to partner with Africa50 in the development of Kigali Innovation City. She said Africa50 has the expertise to speed up project development, and the ability to structure the financing while leveraging funds from development finance institutions and private sector investors.
The RDB boss said KIC will further diversify and modernize Rwanda’s economy while positioning the fast-growing country as a business hub in the heart of Africa; adding that KIC will enable investors to develop technologies, prove new concepts and scale in Rwanda.
Alain Ebobissé, the chief executive of Africa50, emphasized that, Africa50 is proud to be part of a landmark infrastructure project, working with Government of Rwanda, RDB, and the private sector.
He said innovation and technology are critical for Africa’s sustainable
development, providing higher value-added exports and improved services;
adding that signing the JDA will help crowd in private sector investment, which is in line with Africa50’s mandate to mobilize financing to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure in Africa.