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After Africa’s Silicon Valley, Rwanda to start building $5 billion Green City in 2020

May 20, 2019 at 08:00 am | Tech & Innovation

Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei | Contributor

May 20, 2019 at 08:00 am | Tech & Innovation

Green Fund Rwanda chief executive Hubert Ruzibiza explains how the green city pilot site in Kinyinya will incorporate affordable housing with innovative financial and loan tools, including rent-to-own options, in Kigali, last year. / Courtesy: The New Times

Rwanda is committed to becoming the gateway to a technologically developed Africa and it is realizing this with a consistent development strategy that is a sight to behold.

Last year, the landlocked East African country started the construction of the Kigali Innovation City (KIC) which is a $2 billion project aimed at creating the continent’s Silicon Valley on 70 hectares of land that will host among others, world-class universities, technology companies, biotech firms, and commercial and retail real estate.

Kigali Innovation City (KIC) under construction in Rwanda

The country is yet again preparing to build a $5 billion model green city in Kigali from January 2020 which will sit on 620 hectares of land in Kinyinya Sector, Gasabo District complete with a system that prevents environmental degradation and air pollution.

Engineer Eudes Kayumba, Deputy Team Leader of the Green City pilot project which was launched last year, told local media that the city – which would be the first in Africa – would be equipped with green technologies and innovations for green and climate resilient urbanisation.

It will include clean technologies, electric vehicles, electric bicycle and motorcycle lanes, renewable energy, sustainable waste treatment, biogas plants, urban forests, mini-factories with clean technologies, affordable housing and integrated craft production centres, he disclosed.

“We are conducting a study to estimate the jobs that will be created based on how the residents of the area generate income,” he said while assuring that it will be in partnership with the private sector and local building materials will be used in the construction to make the houses more affordable and environmentally sustainable.

Kayumba noted that the exact cost of the project is unknown but it is estimated to be between $4 billion and $5 billion, reports The New Times.

With the financial support of the German Development Cooperation through the KfW Development Bank, the Rwanda Green Fund (Fonerwa) is undertaking a feasibility study and Sweco, a European engineering and architecture firm is supporting in the implementation, he added.

“When studies get completed later this year, we will start implementation of the project, beginning with key infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads which will also benefit neighbouring communities,” Kayumba said, adding that communities around the green city will be part of the broader green ecosystem while a section will be earmarked for low income earners.

Chief Executive Officer of Fonerwa, Hubert Ruzibiza, said they have mobilized over $170 million for the project implementation and were looking at different sources of funding for the project.

However, the construction of the $2 billion Kigali Innovation City (KIC) which is a Private Public Partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Africa50, an infrastructure investment platform that was founded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and African states, is ongoing.

Africa50 will invest $400 million into the project to “help boost the innovation ecosystem in one of Africa’s top knowledge cities,” the
AfDB pledged during the recent Africa Investment Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Rwandan government said Africa50 will focus on the real estate portion of the project which includes building retail and commercial complexes estimated to cost $315 million. They will also work on the Digital Innovation Precinct which will house all the technology companies in KIC and residential facilities for the employees working for companies within the ecosystem.

These projects are part of the Government of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 development program and National Strategy for Transformation 2017-2024 aimed at establishing Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy.

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