Stadium project remains pipe dream as KCC misses deadline

Friday December 26 2014

Kigali Convention Centre under construction. The facility is expected to be ready next year. PHOTO | FILE

They were launched with pomp and were expected to change Kigali but years down the road, these multi-million projects have either stalled or have been called off all together.

The Kigali Convention Centre

Set to become one of Kigali’s outstanding landmarks, the Kigali Convention Centre was supposed to be completed by the end of 2011, but lack of funds hampered construction of the facility expected to house a 2,600-seater conference hall and a Five-star hotel.

The government extended the timelines to 2013 to host the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in May 2014 but in vain. Almost four years later, work is still going on at the mega structure located in Kimihurura. It was expected to be completed by the end of 2014 but again this will not be possible.

“It will be fully completed at least by the end of 2015, there is a lot of finishing work and additional facilities, which require time. The biggest problem is the period of transportation of materials from the port to Kigali,” a Chinese worker told Rwanda Today.

The government invested in the project part of the $400 million that was last year raised through from Eurobond. The completion of the convention centre is also expected to see the entry of Radisson BLU Hotel of Rezidor Group, which will run the 292-room hotel. It will also have office space for rent and other recreation facilities.


In an earlier interview with The EastAfrican, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) Governor John Rwangombwa said the government borrowed the $400 million to finance sectors such as tourism, energy generation and the transport sector, which were crucial in achieving the country’s Vision 2020.

“Through the Eurobond money we have paid PTA Bank some $60 million in respect of a loan for RwandAir. We have repaid another $50 million we borrowed for construction of Nyabarongo hydropower station, which will be completed this year,”

“Works on the convention centre are under way. The centre will be completed next year,” Mr Rwangombwa said in August.

Gahanga Sports Complex

It was one of the highly publicised projects. The 40,000-seater stadium with a swanky sports village, state-of-the-art training facilities and swimming pool is expected to be ready for use by the end of 2015.

It was expected to host the finals of the 2016 Africa Nations Championships (Chan) in January 2016 but today the grounds on which the proposed stadium would be standing is being used a firm.

READ: Gahanga expropriation hasty, land owners claim

The government shelved plans to construct the complex earlier this year after disagreements with contractors —Babilax Group. Both parties traded accusations, with the government saying that there were cracks in the design given by the firm while the Turkish conglomerate said that the government did not have the funds to construct the mega infrastructure expected to cost $150 million.

Emmanuel Bugingo, a director in the Ministry of Sports and Culture, said the main reason for cancellation of the project was “loopholes in the design,” which the contractor failed to address.

In an earlier interview, Minister for Sports and Culture Joe Habineza said the government has not shelved the plans to construct the sports complex.

“We will announce when to resume the stadium project,” Mr Habineza said without giving timelines, adding that alternative venues for Chan 2016 have been picked.

Rwandans may have to wait a little longer to see the Gahanga Sports Complex dream come to pass.