Rwanda continues to woo lenders for Bugesera Airport

Monday January 28 2019

bugesera

President Paul Kagame at the ground-breaking ceremony at Bugesera International Airport on August 9, 2017. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA| NATION 

IVAN R. MUGISHA
By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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Rwanda is on a drive to raise financing for the Bugesera Airport, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Claver Gatete, Minister for Infrastructure told The EastAfrican that the government is working with Portuguese logistics firm Mota-Engil to “get the adequate financing necessary for construction to completion.”

Mota-Engil began construction in August 2017 through a public-private partnership, which grants it the rights to operate the airport for 25 years to recoup its total investment, estimated at about $820 million, with an option to extend the agreement for 15 years.

President Paul Kagame said in December 2018 that the construction designs for the airport had been updated for improvement.

“The design (of Bugesera) was all over the place. We wanted to make improvements in design and quality and even expand it,” he said at a press conference.

The first phase of construction is estimated to cost $418 million while the second phase will cost $382 million.

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The government’s stake in the airport remains undisclosed, but in 2017, it liquidated its stake in I&M Bank to raise Rwf11.5 billion ($13.6 million) to fund its equity in the project.

When asked, Mr Gatete said: “We discuss with our lenders regarding the funding and if there is any change we will inform you.”

Deadline

He said that although the 2020 completion deadline remains, “Usually, when you’re implementing such a big project, there are certain things you keep modifying as you go, especially improving the design, mobilising resources and other things. These technical issues affect many things as you implement they will determine its completion date.''

The new airport is billed to dwarf Kigali International Airport, coming with a 13 per cent higher passenger capacity, a single 3,750-metre runway, a 30,000 square metre passenger terminal, 22 check-in counters, 10 gates and six passenger boarding bridges.

It is expected to handle 1.7 million passengers per annum, almost double the country's current total traffic.

Bugesera will be the country’s third international airport after Kigali International Airport and Kamembe International Airport in western Rwanda.

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