Dubai World, major holding company owned by the United Arab Emirates is to invest US$230million in eight tourism facilities in Rwanda.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government of Rwanda and Dubai World on September 26 sealed the deal that will put the country at a higher pedestal in the East African region.
The minister of state in charge of industry and investment promotion in the ministry of commerce, industry, investment promotion, tourism and co-operatives Mr. Vincent Karega signed on behalf of Rwanda while the vice president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai Mr. Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum signed for Dubai World.
During an interview with East African Business Week at her offices in Kigali on October 2, the deputy director general in charge of investment promotion at the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA) Ms. Clare Akamanzi said this initiative from a single source has superseded their 2007 expectations.
“This is very exciting and a major development for the country. Each of the projects on their own is big. This has enabled us to surpass our 2007 target. Our target for investments this year was $229million.”
The Dubai World has pledged to increase its investment portfolio. In a press statement sent to Business Week, the chair of Dubai World Mr. Ahmed Bin Sulayem said, “This is an important strategic deal for Dubai World. Rwanda is recognised as the most improved sub Saharan nation. It has come along way in sustainable development, and has a safe environment which still has tremendous potential for growth”.
He added, “The development offers both partners significant opportunity. Construction on the developments will commence in late 2007 and we will open an office in Kigali to manage the existing trading operations, paving the way for increased tourist arrivals who seek quality service and high end experience.”
On his part, Karega revealed that the country is on an unstoppable growth curve. “Our vision for Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation is to position our country as a hub for excellence and quality service. Tourism is a pillar for rapid economic growth within that context. Our policy choice for tourism is to become a high end destination capitalising on unique natural beauty, security, property rights and zero tolerance for corruption.
The MoU states that Dubai World will fully take over the 60-room Akagera game lodge and turn it into a four- star facility. In addition, a joint venture with Government is to be set up to operate the 1,080 Akagera National Park in conjunction with the Rwanda Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN).
The partnership will also see the re-development of the Gorilla Nest Lodge in the breath taking Volcanoes National Park. The giant UAE investment group will set up a creative five-star tented camp in Kinigi, northwestern Rwanda.
The Dubai World will also fully take over the $7.2million (Rwf3.99) Nyungwe Eco-lodge that is being constructed by ORTPN. The Arab group is to also build a new upscale 150-room hotel at the up market Kigali Golf Course in Nyarutarama. It will also re-develop the 18 hole golf course and the golf and country club as well as building town houses and villas.