13 May 2016

Rwanda: Govt Launches Kigali Innovation City Flagship Project

On the second day of the World Economic Forum on Africa, the Rwanda Development Board announced the launch of its flagship project Kigali Innovation City (KIC), it is a dynamic ecosystem of technology clusters in which domestic and its companies will innovate and deliver products and services for global markets. Innovation, the hallmark of economic productivity will fuel Africa's digital transformation from agrarian economies to knowledge-based economies. This plan is one of the key enablers that will help achieve Rwanda's long-term vision of economic growth and social development.

Speaking at the conference, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board Francis Gatare said, "Kigali Innovation City is the Rwandan solution to Africa's development, as it will enable technology innovation communities by allowing them to source highly skilled human capital locally" The Kigali Innovation City model is structured on three interdependent platforms - human capital, innovation friendly financial capital and digital innovation. He added, "The project was conceived to enable the digital transformation path in Rwanda, and I believe it is a model that can be easily applied across the continent to leap frog into the 4th industrial revolution."

Already operating in KIC are Carnegie Mellon University, the anchor tenant and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. These along with existing educational institutions such as the International Center for Theoretical Physics are going to contribute on creating a critical concentration of engineers, mathematicians and scientists who are the heart of the human capital development platform - the key differentiator of KIC in the innovation hub community.

Today, joining the KIC community are leading technology companies, notably the Swedish telecommunications giant Ericcson who is going to steer the digital transformation with Rwanda Interoperability Solution (RIS), a national interoperability switch based on Ericcson M-Commerce Interconnect solution, that will connect financial and payment service providers to end users countrywide in real time through a range of digital payment options across all financial platforms.

The Kigali Innovation City is a reflection of the Government of Rwanda's commitment to digital transformation as the driver of economic growth. The flagship project with an estimated value of 1.9 billion USD will be built on the grounds of the Kigali Special Economic Zone, located 10km east of Kigali City's business district. The project plans reveal the Innovation City will comprise all elements of a typical urban centre including corporate buildings, retail, leisure, sports, accommodation, health care center and other amenities. Kigali Innovation City welcomes stakeholders to join on the path to digital transformation in Africa.

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