Rwanda signs deal for construction of Bugesera International Airport

Artistic design impression of Bugesera International Airport
Artistic design impression of Bugesera International Airport

Rwanda has signed Concession Agreement with the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor for the construction and operation of Bugesera International Airport.

Kigali is being positioned to become a nerve center for business, travel, and shipping in the sub-region, and the Government of Rwanda has taken a concrete step toward becoming a transportation hub for the East African region.

Also read: Kenya’s newly constructed Isiolo International Airport ready for use

James Musoni, Minister of Infrastructure, signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of Rwanda while Manuel Mota, Chief Executive Officer of Monta-Engil signed on behalf of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor

The US$700mn Bugesera International Airport project is designed to be executed across 4 phases. Phase I will involve approximately 27 months of construction – at an estimated cost of US$400mn.the construction work on phase I is expected to be completed by 2019, at which point the airport will be able to accommodate 1.8 million passengers annually.

Through the development of Bugesera Airport Rwanda has an ambitious strategic Vision 2020 which aims to transform the country into a knowledge-based, middle-income country by the end of the decade – as well as the country’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).

However, the Bugesera International Airport project is designed and is being implemented with an aim of generating socio-economic development in Bugesera, Kigali, and other parts of the Eastern Province. The airport will further sustain the development of the aviation sector by backstopping the growth of RwandAir with new facilities and training opportunities. The project is expected to provide approximately 2,000 jobs for local residents.

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In the development of the project, ALSF provided assistance to the Government of Rwanda. Additionally, the provisions of legal advisers have also supported the government in its negotiations between project partners in the Concession Agreement for the construction and development of the Airport. The coordination of legal efforts has also been instrumental in ensuring the signing, first of a Project Development Agreement and Joint-Venture Agreement between the Rwandan government and investor, and subsequently of the Concession Agreement.

“We have anticipated this project for close to 10 years, all the while relying largely on local expertise,” said Emmanuel Rugambwa, a Strategic Investment Analyst at the Rwanda Development Board. “When we approached the ALSF, they swiftly helped us procure the required expertise to structure the project such that it attracts private capital. Since then, we’ve had many banks express interest in joining the project. The ALSF grant also includes a capacity building component which ensures that the procured experts will train Rwandans to monitor the project’s development, as well as to structure future projects in a similar manner,” he added.

On completion, the project is designed to ease the air traffic load which is currently being experienced at Kigali International Airport which is the nearest to Kigali’s central business district in Kanombe, 10 km east.

TPS, a British engineering firm, was in 2009 employed by the Rwandan government to design and carry out a feasibility study to develop a new airport in Nyamata village in Bugesera, 40 km south of Kigali.

Also read: Zimbabwe commissions Victoria Falls International Airport

Phase I of Bugesera Airport is designed to handle one million passengers and 150 million tonnes of cargo annually from 2015 to 2025. However, subsequent phases will follow with higher passenger and cargo capacities.

Phase II of the airport project will incorporate building a second runway to approximate the capacity of the largest world airports. The airport is also designed to provide leisure, hotels and conference facilities. It is further hoped a free trade zone will be created in the area which will spur economic development.

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