Rwanda’s ambition to host one of Africa’s biggest tech hubs is quickly gaining momentum after Africa50, a pan-African infrastructure investment firm announced that will invest $400 million in Kigali Innovation City(KIC).
Under the terms of the agreement, Africa50 was appointed co-sponsor and partner of the project and will apply its project development, financial structuring, and infrastructure development expertise, working alongside the Rwanda Development Board and other partners during the development phase.
Africa50 will also help select additional partners, including other development finance institutions and private sector lenders, for the construction.
African Development Bank says that the tech hub which will host universities, technology companies and biotech firms will help boost the innovation ecosystem in Kigali.
Valued at about $2 billion and located in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone, Kigali Innovation City will sit on 70 hectares piece of land.
A flagship project, the Kigali Innovation City is estimated to be worth US$1.9 billion being inspired by the U.S. Silicon Valley – home to many start-up and global technology companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.
Centres of excellence eyeing the innovation city include; the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), International Centre for Theoretical Physics, and African Leadership University (ALU) are also expected to start construction of their campuses in the same area soon.
Alain Ebobisse, chief executive of Africa50, said the project has a significant socio-economic impact and aligns well with their vision of promoting innovation and ICT development in Africa.
“KIC is an example of how we can partner with one of our shareholder governments to provide project development expertise leveraging their outstanding track record in doing business to mobilise capital for a farsighted, innovative project of global reach,” Ebobisse said
The project aims to attract technology companies from all over the world to Rwanda to create an innovation ecosystem and further a knowledge-based economy.
It is expected to create more than 50,000 jobs and generate US $150 million in ICT exports annually, as well as attracting over US $300 million in foreign direct investment.