The long wait for the completion of The Kigali Convention Centre will be put to rest as the international facility will be commissioned this year, Amb. Claver Gatete, the minister for finance and economic planning, has said.
The construction of the twin facility started four years ago, but delays over the years have left many wondering when it would be completed.
“The project is important to the country and will not only market Rwanda’s hospitality sector, but also improve chances of attracting the world’s biggest conferences,” Amb. Gatete told The New Times in an exclusive interview.
He added that this was one way of enhancing the country’s foreign exchange reserves, an ingredient that is critical to economi growth.
However, the minister said the oval dome will be completed next year.
The facility is being developed by Beijing Construction Engineering Group, a Chinese firm.
One of the major reasons the government issued a $400 million Eurobond last year was to raise funds to complete the facility.
He said Radisson Blu, an international hotelier with more than 420 hotel chains in 73 countries across the world, will manage the hotel once it is completed.
Significance of the hotel
With more than 292 rooms, office and commercial spaces, and a conference centre that can to accommodate 2,500 people, the mega structure is a huge relief to the hotel industry.
For instance, government has had to hire private villas to accommodate some of the guests for the forthcoming African Development Bank Annual Meeting due May 19-23 in Kigali.
The Rwf128 billion project is expected to go a long way in reducing shortages that still dog the hospitality industry, which has recently attracted major global luxury hotel chains, including the Marriott and Kempinski.
Faustin Karasira, the tourism and conservation department director-general at Rwanda Development Board, said government aims to attract more global conferences to Kigali.
Denis Karera, the chairperson of the Rwanda Hoteliers Association, urged the private sector to increase investments into the sector to make it more attractive and profitable.
However, he called for public-private partnerships and joint ventures with international investors to boost the industry.
Rwanda has more than 258 registered hotels with about 6,000 rooms across the country, 3,000 of which are in Kigali.