17 April 2019

Rwanda: New Firm Takes Over Rwf5bn Nyandungu Eco-Tourism Project

Government has contracted a new firm for the development of the Nyandungu Urban Wetland Eco-Tourism Park project after terminating the previous contractor.

The terminated contractor, according to officials, was particularly found to be wanting in terms of expertise in landscaping.

The implementation of the wetland eco-tourism park project was expected to take five years, starting from 2017 through 2021, but the project stalled last year after the first contractor failed to deliver.

Jules Djangwani, the project coordinator at Rwanda Environment Management Authority, gives some details about the proposed map of Nyandungu Urban Wetland Eco-Tourism park project, which is under construction. Sam Ngendahimana.

The wetland, that must be both rehabilitated and turned into recreational park, stretches through the sectors of Nyarugunga of Kicukiro District and Ndera of Gasabo District along the Special Economic Zone.

Budget doubles

Jules Djangwani, the project coordinator at Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), told The New Times that the budget has been increased from Rwf2.4 billion to Rwf5.04 billion following the redesigning and various other changes.

"The budget has increased because there are changes and additional elements from initial quotation. For example, the design of the man-made lakes changed to be able to synchronise with a river that crosses through the proposed park. There are also additional infrastructures," he said.

According to Djangwani, the project will have the main funder as the Green Fund (FONERWA), which will provide the initial Rwf2.4 billion, while the additional cost will be met by two other partners.

Other works include the redesigning and relocating of the amphitheater among others," he said.

He said that Afrilandscapes Ltd is the landscaping firm that have been awarded the contract to landscape, design and building, manage and do irrigation services.

Nyandungu Urban Wetland Eco-Tourism park project is under construction. Sam Ngendahimana.

"After government realised that the previous firm lacked expertise in landscaping, we decided to terminate the contract and hired another firm towards the end of 2018 which has recently embarked on the operations," he said.

He said that there is hope that the new firm will respect the deadline since the firm is composed of experts specialised in landscaping and environment protection.

The new firm has been given 36 months to execute the project, of which 12 months are for maintenance after completion. The park will have to also generate revenues, he said.

He said that there are two joint supervisor companies; Gasabo 3D Design Ltd (G3D), and ASTRIK International Ltd, that are also behind the project design.

The project is expected to provide social and economic benefits to the communities around and support innovative approaches to restore and conserve wetland ecosystems on 130 hectares and support livelihood diversification to enhance incomes for local communities.

The new firm to undertake the project is also behind the redesigning of roundabouts in Kigali City to transform them into green spaces.

It is also charged with implementing part of urban forestry policy on the city's major roads.

Activities ongoing

According to Djangwani, the park is composed of five zones that will start from La Palisse Hotel Nyandungu, stretching all the way to the road to Ndera sector, an area commonly known as Kuri 15.

"We have started planting forests composed of native species, paving bicycle and pedestrian pathways, excavation of the man-made lakes for recreational purposes and setting up a drainage system to control flooding among other activities," he said.

Djangwani said that there will also be an information area near the main entrance of the park for researchers and tourists who want to know about the conservation park.

The recreational features will also include restaurants and bars for tourists or travellers, a parking area, medicinal herbs garden, gardens for wedding ceremonies and photographs, observation deck to view and take pictures of bird species as well as amphitheatres for meetings and events.

"A river will divide the park into two parts," he said.

Income generation

Accordingto the business plan, the park will have several revenue streams.

For instance, visitors will be charged entrance fee, guide fees for those that need them while specific areas in the park will be hired for wedding and photo shoot venues.

The park may also choose to rent out certain areas for entertainment and cultural events provided they fit the ethos of the park.

Preliminary projections of the study showed that the eco-tourism park could generate over Rwf1bn in profit in the first 12 years of operation.

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