BPR finances completion of two higher learning institutions

The campus is spread out in three modern buildings, hosting everything from meeting pods, learning labs, fabrication lab, computer labs, and centres for health, leadership, and research, among others.

Two major higher learning institutions in the country are set to start operating from their new campuses they own, financed by Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc (BPR Plc).

The two institutions; University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB) and African Leadership University (ALU) have new homes that will be operational before the end of this year.

 

Officials from the two universities say that their partnership with BPR enabled the execution of the capital-intensive infrastructure projects which would otherwise not have been possible given the costs and timing.

 

Callixte Kabera (Phd), the Vice-Chancellor University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB) said that for years since the establishment of the institution, they have been working from rented premises which required constant liquidity to pay rent which was significantly costly.

 

The arrangement also meant that they were limited with regard to space which saw the planned rollout of some programmes held back.

“The situation before was that we were operating from a rented premise. We were paying a lot of money in terms of renting our campuses in Kigali and Rubavu. The situation was complex in that we always had to have liquidity to pay the rent,” he said.

Kabera said that they commenced working with BPR in 2017 and secured financing in 2018 to commence the building of two campuses, Kigali (Rebero) and Gisenyi.

“Very soon, we will have our own premises thanks to BPR, we started working with BPR in 2017, and in 2018 we received a loan to construct our two campuses, a campus in Rebero in Kigali which is the main campus and the campus of Gisenyi in Rubavu,” he said.

The two campuses are in the completion stage and will soon be operational with plans for consequent phases of the project underway. With other phases on the way, Kabera said that they plan on continuing to work with the lender.

“The work is almost done, soon we will be able to shift from the rented campus. BPR has financed the first phase, there will be multiple phases costing around Rwf10bn, the first phase will cost around Rwf3bn. We intended to continue working with the bank, our working relationship has been very good, and we received financing at the right time,” he said.

The higher learning institution says that the project has also enabled them to create jobs and livelihoods for communities in Kigali and Gisenyi who have been providing services for the construction process.

Going forward, they said that they will now be in position to expand their programmes as they have adequate space.

In the sprawling Kigali Innovation City on the edges of the Kigali Special Economic Zone, African Leadership University has also completed the set up and construction of a modern campus worth an estimated $15 million.

Gaidi Faraj, Dean of the African Leadership University (ALU) Rwanda said that despite not having had a very long working relationship with BPR, the lender came on board to help finance the completion of the campus construction.

He noted that the lender came on board at a time when they were facing challenges in their initial financing scheme and made sure the project was completed timely.

“We have been banking with BPR for only about 6 months now, they came on to help us finish with our campus construction project. BPR has helped us get our project underway, when we first started construction, we had some issues with our financing scheme and BPR quickly stepped in and was able to finance the project and move along very fast,” he said.

Faraj said that in working with the bank, the relationship was characterized by responsiveness and flexibility which are key traits of big construction projects.

“One of the things we really appreciate about BPR is how responsive they have been to our needs. We know that big construction projects often have a lot of uncertainties, they have been responsive to us and very flexible and acted as a real partner on the project,” he said.

BPR says that they are keen on financing and supporting the implementation of long-term projects in various sectors of the economy ranging from construction of schools, manufacturing plants, Agro processing factories, hospitals among others.

The bank has long-term financing facilities which they said is flexible to project demands, needs and contexts.

ALU’s new campus is situated in the Kigali Innovation City, where a host of other universities are setting up their permanent base in Gasabo District. / File

Callixte Kabera (PhD), the Vice-Chancellor University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB).

Dr. Gaidi Faraj, Dean of the African Leadership University (ALU) Rwanda.

Inside the compound's smart classrooms.

The campus is spread out in three modern buildings, hosting everything from meeting pods, learning labs, fabrication lab, computer labs, and centres for health, leadership, and research, among others..

The campus will allow the University to accommodate somewhere up to 600 students a year from the current 300 students accepted every year.

University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB) that is under construction. / Courtesy

University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB) that is under construction. / Courtesy

University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB) that is under construction.

cmwai@newtimesrwanda.com

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