The highly anticipated Nkombo boat, with a budget of over Rwf3.3 billion ($3 million), is expected to be fully operational by December 2023. This development aims to enhance transportation for the residents of Nkombo Island, according to the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA). Nkombo Island, spanning 29.7 square kilometers in Lake Kivu, is one of the 18 sectors in Rusizi District, located in the Western Province of Rwanda. ALSO READ: Rwf2.7bn boat to stimulate development on Nkombo Island Initially scheduled for completion in April 2019, as stated in the Auditor General's report on State Finances for the year ended June 30, 2022, the Nkombo boat faced persistent delays. At the time of the audit in October 2022, the boat's supply contract execution was only 56% complete, causing a delay of over three years. The report warned that the project's anticipated benefits would be postponed if urgent action was not taken. However, during the budget hearing for the 2023/2024 fiscal year held on May 8, Imena Munyampenda, the Director General of RTDA, reported that the boat's engine had already been shipped into the country, and progress was being made. RTDA management attributed the delay primarily to budget constraints but assured that the issue had been resolved. We aim to have this boat operational by December this year, stated Munyampenda, noting that it would be completed by September, allowing for two months of trials and commissioning. Additionally, Munyampenda revealed that the feeder boat, which would supply the main boat, had already been completed. Boat Capacity According to the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), the large boat is expected to accommodate 150 passengers, carry six vehicles, 10 tonnes of cargo, and travel at a speed of 23 knots (approximately 42.6 kilometers per hour). The feeder boat, on the other hand, has a capacity of 30 seats and can transport three tonnes of cargo. Rusizi District Mayor, Anicet Kibiriga, highlighted the challenges faced by Nkombo residents due to the island's isolation. He expressed optimism that the boat would alleviate these difficulties and facilitate economic cooperation between Nkombo and other sectors, such as Nkanka, Gihundwe, and Kamembe. Kibiriga emphasized that the boat would also enhance social events and visits to friends in neighboring sectors, while promoting economic cooperation, trade, and overall development in the district. The boat's potential usage in other districts, such as Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Karongi, and Rubavu, is being considered but requires further consultations with relevant entities. Furthermore, the boat will facilitate the transportation of vehicles to the island, improving overall transportation infrastructure, as limited means of transportation had previously hindered car access to Nkombo.