Pan-African infrastructure investor and asset manager Africa50 has signed an agreement with the Rwandan government to develop a 61-hectare smart city in the country’s capital.

Africa50 said it has signed an implementation agreement with the Rwanda Development Board and the Government of Rwanda for exclusive rights to develop, operate and commercialise the Kigali Innovation City (KIC) project.

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa will support the project as a lender for the initial phase of shared infrastructure construction.

The master-planned project, once completed, will host residential, commercial, retail, and educational assets for local and international businesses and institutions. KIC will act as a technology innovation hub for Rwanda and Africa by hosting four STEM-focused universities, global technology companies, startup incubators and other technology players.

Uzziel Ndagijimana, Rwanda’s minister of finance and economic planning, said: “This milestone is exciting as this is one of the flagship projects in Rwanda, and part of our strategy and ambition to build a knowledge-based economy. We will move speedily to implement and execute the agreed roadmap, with full support from the Government of Rwanda.”

Paula Ingabire, the minister of ICT and innovation of Rwanda, said: “We are pleased about the partnership and committed to developing a thriving innovation ecosystem for Rwanda and for the continent, which will support local, pan-African and international tech companies thrive.”

Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, said: “This signing is a pivotal moment in the development of KIC, bringing us closer to delivering a transformative tech community to Africa that delivers new skills and jobs and positively changes lives.

“Africa50 and our distinguished partners are creating pathways for local and international businesses to access new markets. It also supports Rwanda’s ambition to support an Africa that does not only consume technology but also produces technology.”

Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, said: “I am proud of the milestone we have achieved together with Africa50 and the technical teams. This paves the way to accelerate the project and deliver the impact we all aspire to.”

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