The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will invest $17.5 million in French real estate conglomerate Duval Group to develop a mega mixed-use building complex opposite the Kigali Convention Centre in the Rwandan capital.
The private sector lending arm of the World Bank Group said in a disclosure that it would provide the debt through Duval Group’s subsidiary, Duval Great Lakes, and mobilise up to another $17.5 million from other lenders towards the project.
“The total project cost is estimated to be up to close to $70 million. IFC will provide an A-loan of up to $17.5 million and will mobilise up to another $17.5 million from other lender(s)” the IFC said.
The Duval Group will fund the remaining portion of the project costs, which targets building and operating a mixed-use complex consisting of a shopping mall, food and beverage, and entertainment area, a service apartment hotel, as well as office, co-working and conference space.
This means Duval Group will sink about $35 million in the project.
Duval Great Lakes is majority owned by the giant French firm, with Rwandan businessman Vicky Murabukirwa, with extensive real estate interests, holding the remaining stake.
Rwanda is positioning itself as a key hub for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) in the Eastern and Central Africa region.
For instance, the iconic Kigali Convention Centre (KCC) has, since its opening in 2016, become a popular MICE destination in the East African region, hosting several international events.
With a net floor area of 32,200 square metres, KCC can host more than 5,000 delegates at a time and contains facilities for business, leisure, and events.
The MICE strategy also ropes in Rwanda’s tourism industry which is popular with travellers seeking to catch a glimpse of the country’s famous endangered mountain gorillas that live on bamboo-covered slopes of a volcanic mountain range that spans Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.