Rwanda has began construction of Africa’s Silicon Valley, as the country looks to lead the continent in technological advancement and infrastructural development.
According to Face 2 Face Africa, the East African nation 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.
The construction of the Kigali Innovation City, is poised to have a Pan-African human and economic development impact to step up Africa’s transformation agenda.
Located in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone, the project is valued at about $2 billion and will host world-class universities, technology companies, biotech firms, and commercial and retail real estate on 70 hectares of land.
The Rwandan government said Africa50 will focus on the real estate portion of the project which includes building retail and commercial complexes estimated to cost $315 million. They will also work on the Digital Innovation Precinct which will house all the technology companies in KIC and residential facilities for the employees working for companies within the ecosystem.
“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,” says Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente at the Africa Investment Forum.
“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,” he added.
This is not the first time an African country is attempting to build a Silicon Valley in the continent. In 2013, on the eve of Ghana’s independence day, Ghanaian developers led by the CEO of local tech company RLG Communications, Roland Agambire, announced plans to build a $10 billion tech hub in Prampram on the outskirts of the capital, Accra.