President Paul Kagame on Monday presided over the inauguration of the Kigali Logistics Platform, a state-of-the-art facility that is expected to give a significant boost to international trade.
The platform which is operated by the United Arab Emirates logistics firm, DP World, is a dry port that is located in Masaka, a Kigali suburb and it is expected to ease trade not only in Rwanda, but also in the neighbouring markets.
It is the first of its kind in this region.
This is the country’s largest inland cargo handling facility and it became operational in June 2019 and it came into being courtesy of a 25-year concessional agreement that was signed between Rwanda and UAE in 2016.
President Kagame, who toured the facility prior to the launch, said he was impressed with the high level of technology that was being used at the platform, which he said is a key catalyst for trade.
The head of state said that the KLP is part of the efforts by Rwanda to ready herself ahead of the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which slated for July next year.
“That trading (under AfCFTA) would not be possible without the infrastructure and through facilities like this, as Rwanda we are doing our part,” President Kagame said.
Speaking at the launch, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said that this facility, whose first phase cost USD35 million, will be used as a gateway to the African market.
“We see Rwanda as a gateway to the heart of Africa. We want to use this gateway and we are happy because we have an efficient partner in the Government of Rwanda,” Sulayem said, adding that very soon they would embark on works to expand it.
He said that when they were first approached to set up the platform in Rwanda, they were not convinced of viability because, mainly, they were looking at the size of the market the country offered.
“We however followed the vision as presented to us by President Kagame and on touring the facility, I noticed the cargo was being processed for other countries and I must say it is impressive,” he said.
With a capacity to a capacity of 198 trucks, 20,000 square metres of bonded warehouse storage and a container of 50,000 TEUs per year, the launch of this dry port will enable traders within and outside the country to save time while conducting business.