Rwanda has embarked on constructing a state-of-the-art innovations hub dubbed Africa’s Silicon Valley, with the East African country cementing its resolve to become one of the continent’s leaders in technological advancement.
Located in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone, the Kigali Innovation City (KIC), estimated to cost about $2 million, is a Private Public Partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Africa50, an infrastructure investment platform that was founded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and African states.
Under the arrangement, Africa50 will develop and finance a “Digital Innovation Precinct”, including commercial and retail complexes, as part of Kigali Innovation City, according to a statement from Africa50.
It will also host world-class universities, technology companies, biotech firms, and commercial and retail real estate on 70 hectares of land.
Some universities have started setting up campuses in the area and these include Carnegie Mellon University, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and African Leadership University.
“This is an innovative effort, the first of its kind on the continent. It will have Pan-African development impact both in terms of economic and human capital. For instance, Kigali Innovation City is expected to create over 50,000 jobs annually. Our aim is to build a critical mass of talent, research and innovative ideas that will transform Africa,” Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente is quoted as saying at the Africa Investment Forum in South Africa last week.
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He added: “Kigali Innovation City forms part of the Government of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 development program and National Strategy for Transformation 2017-2024. It is one of the projects that aims at establishing Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy.”
The East African country has also seen success with FOYO, a mobile pharmaceutical directory, as well as a new cashless bus payment system in the capital city Kigali.
The country recently launched Africa’s first electronic cross-border trade platform with the help of Alibaba Group’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) to engage small businesses across the continent.