Construction of Bugesera International Airport will be launched today following an agreement between the Government and a Portuguese construction firm, Mota Engil, in September last year.
President Paul Kagame is expected to be among the guests at the ground-breaking ceremony in Bugesera District today.
The first phase of the project is set to be complete by December 2018 upon which the airport will have capacity to handle about 1.7 million passengers every year.
Upon completion of the works, the firm will run the facility’s operations for 25 years with an option to extend by another 15 years.
The first phase is expected to cost an estimated US$418 million, while the second will cost about $414M and will raise the facility’s capacity to about 4.5 million passengers per year.
With about 18 months to go to the project deadline, the Mota Engil’s bosses have previously said that they intended to fast-track the project.
Though the agreement was signed last year, the firm had to wait for a new financial year to secure funding for the project.
However, preparatory works in readiness for construction, including expropriation have been ongoing.
Impact of the facility
The new airport is expected to promote Rwanda as a major conference hub in the region. With growing air traffic of other airlines as well as continued growth of national carrier, RwandAir, experts say that the new facility will come in handy to support the ambitions.
This is not Mota Engil’s first infrastructure project in Rwanda. The firm was previously involved in the expansion and refurbishment of the Kigali International Airport, the country’s only international airport at the moment.
Local stakeholders have also recently gained experience in implementation of large infrastructure developments following completion of major projects such as Kigali Convention Centre and Kivuwatt methane gas extraction plant.
The project has since attracted the attention of major financiers such as the African Development bank and African Export-Import Bank.
The government also this year sold their stake in I&M Bank Rwanda with the proceeds going into investments as initial equity in Bugesera International Airport.
The government received about Rwf11.5B from sale of stake in the bank.