Rwanda banks on Bugesera airport to boost intra-Africa trade

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Rwanda banks on Bugesera airport to boost intra-Africa trade
President Kagame breaks ground to start construction of Bugesera Airport

Rwanda has kicked off the construction of Bugesera airport a project that it says will help boost economic integration of the East African Community and enhance  intra-Africa trade.

Construction of the Bugesera International airport follows a signed deal with Portuguese firm Mota Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa in 2016.

Speaking during the the groundbreaking ceremony of Bugesera Airport in Rilima of Bugesera District, Eastern Province Rwandan president Paul Kagame expressed confidence that the project will help support the country’s socio-economic transformation.

Mr Kagame said that the Bugesera Airport   is important for the country’s development strategy and would have impact across various sectors, including tourism, trade, aviation finance and ICT, sector among others.

“The Kigali International Airport continues to improve in terms of infrastructure, services and efficiency. However this new airport will be better suited to our national vision,’’ Kagame said.

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“The Bugesera Airport is an important part for Rwanda’s strategy for socio-economic transformation, it is key to our ambitions to grow tourism and trade, aviation, finance and ICT sector,” he said.

Beyond its local impact, Kagame said that the proposed facility will also an important component in boosting intra-Africa trade which currently stands at around 15 per cent, as well as strengthen economic integration in the EAC region.

artistic impression of Bugesera international airport

“We also see this facility as an important component in strengthening economic integration of our region and boosting intra-Africa trade, investment and business,” the Head of State said.

The airport will have some of the latest features such as modern cargo handling facilities, capacity to handle about 1.8m passengers annually, 22 check-in counters, six boarding bridges, multiple commercial spaces, among others.

The President added that the facility will serve to complement the growth of the national carrier RwandAir as well as improve access to the country by people from across the world.

Mota Engil Africa has a majority stake in Bugesera Airport Company with 75 per cent while the government has 25 per cent stake.

Bugesera Airport Company will build, own and operate the facility for 25 years before transferring it to the government.