Rwanda is pulling all stops in its preparations to host the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) slated for June 22 to 27. The biennial summit was last held in East Africa in 2007 in Kampala.
The government has set aside up to Rwf10billion ($10.5 million) to improve and build infrastructure needed for the event.
“We have various committees working on the different aspects of CHOGM preparations, from infrastructure, hotels, to protocol, we are moving well and we have put up various mechanisms to ensure that we are ready by that time,” said Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign affairs Vincent Biruta.
Kigali will be the biggest beneficiary as authorities construct inter-city and connecting road network roads that will see the free flow of traffic.
There is new Mulindi Road, Kabeza-Alpha Palace Road, Rwandex Network Road, Nyabisindu-Nyarutarama Road and Migina Network Road connecting Gasabo district headquarters to Sports View Hotel.
All the roads under construction are situated in areas surrounding the airport, and are aimed at decongesting the main Kigali International Airport Road, which will be mostly used during the event.
“We have different on-going construction projects around the city, many of which are infrastructure, we are also working on recreational sites and green parks such that guests have a great experience. Preparations are at 55 per cent,’’ said Ernest Nsabimana, City of Kigali vice mayor.
Up to 10,000 delegates from all the 53 Commonwealth countries are expected to attend the event. It is expected that the event will stretch the limit of city’s roads, conference venues as well as accommodation.
The Rwanda Convention Bureau did not respond to our questions on the progress on ensuring that the country has adequate accommodation for the CHOGM delegates at the time of going to press.
But it is expected that the existing high-end conference facilities like the Kigali Convention, the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, Intare Arena will all be put to good use.
The airport is key in the CHOGM preparation process, and currently the construction and modifications are ongoing to increase the number of parking space for aircraft and passengers lounge at the terminal.
“The event is expected to raise Rwanda’s profile as a tourism and MICE destination, and the country already has up to 25 events lined up for 2020.