Rwanda needs at least $18m (Rwf10.3b) to develop the three foreign plots that it acquired in order to facilitate its exports and imports.
The governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Djibouti offered plots of land to the Rwandan government at Mombasa, Isaka and Djibouti respectively. The Rwandan government gave the land to its private sector as a way of boosting business.
“The development of these plots is underway, especially Mombasa and part of the development will be building an inland container depot,” said Gustave Nkurunziza, the Projects Manager at the Private Sector Federation (PSF).
With the development of these plots, it is expected that the rental rates by Kenya for Rwandan imports and exports would be reduced, hence cutting import and export prices.
The plots in Mombasa, Isaka and Djibouti are 12.8 hectares, 17.5 hectares and 20 hectares respectively.
The private sector plans to develop the land by building warehouses, container terminals and car yards on it.
However, according to the feasibility study that was done, it has been found that for purposes of an inland container depot the Isaka plot is not financially viable but there is another study to put it to good use.
Nkurunziza said that negotiations are ongoing between PSF and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Mwanza to develop the land into a regional grain bank that would serve the EAC region.
A joint venture between the stakeholders such as PSF, MAGERWA, Ocir-Thé and Intra Speed has been established to develop the Mombasa plot.
The PSF authorities said that the development of Mombasa plot was delayed by an illegal squatter businessman called Abdi Awale who had grabbed a huge chunk of it.
“We have worked with the Kenyan government to get him off this plot and there is political goodwill and significant progress,” Nkurunziza explained.
Rwanda has been given these plots for a period of 99 years which are renewable and the government is helping the private sector to secure the title deeds.
Some of the activities that have been done so far include site visiting by PSF delegation, fencing the plot and commissioning detailed feasibility study.