A US $70m basilica is set to be constructed at Kibeho holy land in Nyaruguru district, Rwanda. This is after engineers presented feasibility studies and design to the Catholic Church and district authorities.
According to the Mayor of Nyaruguru, Francois Habitegeko, the project will be financed by a foundation called Our Lady of Kibeho basilica. “This foundation which was formed by Christians led by a lady called Immaculee IIibagiza, will be in-charge of organizing fundraisings to acquire the needed resources,” he said.
The new basilica
The basilica which will have a seating capacity of 10,000 people is expected to have been completed by November 2021, on the 40th anniversary of the holy land. With a 1,000-seat Chapel of Seven Sorrows of Mary, the basilica will have a parking lot for 700 buses and 2,000 smaller cars, and several other service unit spaces.
The very big basilica is also expected to have a VIP section as well as a very big ground outside. The outside area will be enough to accommodate up to 100,000 pilgrims.
The Mayor further added that, once completed, the basilica will attract more pilgrims and tourists which is a very big opportunity for businesses and hospitality sector in the district. Kibeho receives between 500,000 and 600,000 pilgrims every year.
Basilicas in Africa
There are 23 basilicas in Africa; Ghana with four, Uganda with three, Algeria with two, and Egypt with also two basilicas. Currently, Rwanda has only one minor basilica in Kabgayi, ‘Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady’ with a capacity to accommodate 3,000 people.
The largest basilica in Africa is Yamoussoukro Basilica in Cote d’Ivoire, which has the capacity to hold 18,000 worshippers, while the esplanade can accommodate a crowd of 300,000.