Rwanda signs concession agreement for its new international airport

Rwanda signs concession agreement for its new international airport

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The Government of Rwanda and Bugesera Airport Company Limited have signed the concession agreement for the development of the new international airport in Rwanda, known as the Bugesera International Airport

Bugesera Airport Company Limited is a joint venture between Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construҫao Africa, S.A. (Mota-Engil) and Aviation Travel and Logistics Holdings Limited.

The airport, which  will replace Rwanda's existing Kigali International Airport, is being developed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) structure with support from the Government of Rwanda. Contracts were signed on 1 July 2017 and the project is now in the financing phase.

Bugesera Airport Company Limited will design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) the project through a 25-year concession contract, with an optional extension of 15 years. 

Bugesera International Airport, which is already under construction, will be located in southeastern Rwanda, in Bugesera District, near the town of Nyamata. It is expected to cost around US$818 million. 

The first phase of the project, with an estimated cost of US$418 million and due to be completed in 2018, will see the construction of passenger and cargo terminals and a 4200-meter runway able to handle large commercial airplanes. The second phase, valued at US$400 million, would comprise a second runway and more terminals for additional capacity.

Following completion of phase one, Bugesera International Airport will have capacity for around 1.7 million passengers a year. This will increase to 4.5 million per year following completion of subsequent phases– a significant increase on the 800,000 passengers currently handled by Kigali International Airport.

The new airport, which will be located in southeastern Rwanda, in Bugesera District, near the town of Nyamata, aims to leverage the tourism sector in the country. The new airport will become Rwanda’s largest International Airport, serving commercial flights destined to and from the greater Kigali metropolitan area and act as a hub for Rwandair’s growth strategy and commercial airlines serving the region.

Eversheds Sutherland has advised the Government of Rwanda as international legal counsel in relation to the project. Mott MacDonald (tecnhical) and Factum Law (legal) have also acted as advisors for the government. Meanwhile, Dentons has acted as legal advisor for Bugesera Airport Company Limited.

Emmanuel Rugambwa, a Strategic Investment Analyst at the Rwanda Development Board, commented: 

“We have anticipated this project for close to 10 years, all the while relying largely on local expertise. When we approached the ALSF, they swiftly helped us procure the required expertise to structure the project such that it attracts private capital. Since then, we’ve had many banks express interest in joining the project. The ALSF grant also includes a capacity building component which ensures that the procured experts will train Rwandans to monitor the project’s development, as well as to structure future projects in a similar manner.”

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