KIGALI - The joint investment between the government of Rwanda and African Parks Conservation from South Africa will see US$12m spent on the development and management of Akagera National Park as a functioning savannah ecosystem.
The board chairman of Akagera Management Committee, Bisa Samalis said that this was agreed on during a board meeting last week, when the park’s five-year strategic plan was also approved.
“We have agreed that a strategy be adopted to re-launch the park, we have clearly outlined all our targets and the tourism development plan. I believe this will transform Akagera into a sound tourist destination,” he said.
Samalis added that the government, through Rwanda Development Board, was committed to turning the country into an investment destination, by creating a good environment for investors in all sectors.
The redevelopment of the Akagera Park, where government has a 41 percent stake, is expected to galvanise the tourism sector, which is among the country’s major revenue earners.
The investment would also focus on the restoration of biodiversity of the park, promotion of nature-based tourism, and championing of ecological and economical land use to benefit the economy.
Bryan Havemann, the CEO and Project Manager of Akagera Management Company told The New Times that the funds would focus on revamping the image of Akagera into a world class tourism destination.
“African Parks Network has set up a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the government to re-establish the park and develop it into a viable tourism product with regards to both wildlife conservation and hospitality,” he said.
Havemann observed that the existing infrastructure was inadequate and poorly maintained, hence the need for a major upgrading. He added that the gate reception area would be upgraded to include a day visitor centre, curio shop and a coffee shop.
He said that to fulfil a niche for tourism accommodation, a tented camp would also be built while additional accommodation, management offices, law enforcement offices with armoury, and a well equipped workshop would also be put up.