KIGALI - As the first phase of the Kigali Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) nears completion, local and foreign investors are rushing to acquire land in the modern industrial park, the first of its kind in the region.
The Nyandungu-based industrial park has so far attracted over 28 investors, with 90 percent of the first phase, which covers 100 hectares, already booked.
In an interview with The New Times, Alexis Ruzibukira, the Chairman of the Taskforce charged with the implementation of the project, said that by November this year, the first phase of the KSEZ will be complete.
“The KSEZ phase one is near completion. I can confidently say that over 90 percent has been attained and if all goes well, by the end of November, we will have finished infrastructure development,” he said
Ruzibukira said that the construction of roads, power, water, a central sewerage system, laying of fibre optic cables as well as plot demarcation, which were financed by the government and its private sector partners, are almost complete.
KSEZ is yet to embark on phase two of the project which will cover 178 hectares.
Ruzibukira said that investors who booked space paid 30 percent of the total amount of the plot they purchased.
“We are only allowing people to purchase a minimum size of 5, 000 square metres and the maximum size depends on the kind of business an investor wants to set up. If an investor says he needs five hectares, we need to understand why needs that much land.
“We don’t want to end up having four or five investors only. We need to have a vibrant area with a large number of activities, whereby investors will be sourcing raw materials to each other so we can have synergy,” Ruzibukira said.
He pointed out that to ensure that the available land in the economic zone is fully utilised, the investor has to present a business plan and the size of land required and after down payment of 30 percent the contract is signed.
A square metre of the land goes for Rwf20, 000 which means that for the minimum 5, 000 square metres an investor parts with Rwf100m of which 30 percent is paid before construction begins.
The investor is then given a two-year grace period to start construction and thereafter, he/she is required to start paying the remaining 70 percent.
Ruzibukira said that the project is a public-private partnership with the government as the major contributor of resources, including compensation of people who formerly occupied the land where the park is.
“The government owns 45 percent while the other partners have 55 percent but beyond that, the government has compensated the people who were expropriated from the area.
“The government has shown commitment to the project because this is a project that will move the country from being ‘landlocked’ to ‘linked’ because the real benefits from the project will lead to economic growth,” Ruzibukira said.
The government has so far injected close to US$25m in the first phase of the project which it says is ‘flexible’ with the needs of investors, emphasising that business plans have to be coherent with the design of the park already in place.
The project will create thousands of jobs and is expected to be fully fledged by 2015.
Investors who have already set up include Bakhresa Group which has invested US$24 in a grain milling factory and the Ministry of Agriculture which is investing over US$20m in four projects in the agro-park.
According to Ruzibukira, Sadolin Paints, an international paints manufacturer, has also acquired land and started ground works, investing an estimated US$10m. More investors are expected to lay ground in the next three months.
He noted that Rwandan businesses are matching their foreign companies in declaring inteterest in the project.
“It will be a big boost to our economy as it will bring together a big number of economic activities in our place,” Ruzibukira observed.
KSEZ is a partnership between the government, Rwanda Development Bank (BRD), Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), insurance firm- SONARWA, Prime Holdings, MAGERWA and Bond Trading.