As Rwanda bets big on becoming a regional conference hub, building project after building project continue to spring up across Kigali, a couple of them hotels keen to tap into the country’s growing meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) sector.
Travel News Rwanda takes a look at some of the biggest (in terms of cost to build) and most spectacular buildings that are reshaping Kigali’s skyline.
Kigali Convention Centre
This is one of the most high-profile real estate projects in Rwanda at the moment. Already an architectural wonder, the $300 million Kigali Convention Centre is being constructed to cater for the ever increasing demand for conference facilities.
Construction of the dome-like conference facility was approved in 2009 and is due for completion in May 2016 – later than originally planned (2012) due to delays caused by disagreements between the government and Beijing Construction Engineering Group, the firm that was originally awarded the contract.
Early this year, Rwanda kicked out the Chinese firm and contracted Turkish firm Summa to complete construction of the facility which, according to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), will add some 11 conference rooms and several bars and restaurants to the country’s hotel industry.
“Once construction is complete, Rwanda will be able to bid for bigger conferences that it’s not able to host right now due to lack of enough conference facilities,” said Frank Murangwa, head of the MICE division at RDB, adding that the Kigali Convention Centre will have the capabilities to seat 2,600 people.
The original innovative design came from Spacial Solutions, a Germany-based firm, but the first contractor on site had to adjust it. Still, it remains one of Kigali’s greatest architectural works so far.
Rising near the Kigali Convention Centre is Kigali Heights, a class A office building. Centrally situated at the Kimihurura Roundabout, its proprietors describe it as a project that “seeks to deliver a world class office block in the heart of Kimihurura with 12,750 square metres of class A office space, 5,250 square metres of prime retail space, and 300 car parking spaces.”
It is as well that even though the $34 million multipurpose nine-story rectilinear block is also on the list with completion dates within the first half of next year, several retail shops and supermarket chains such as Woolworths, Nakumatt and Simba have already booked space in the building.
Kigali Heights is co-owned by local property developer Kigali Heights Development Company and Kenyan firm Fusion Capital.
M. Peace Plaza
The latest addition to Kigali’s skyline, M. Peace Plaza derives its name from the peace and security currently prevailing in the country, according to its owner, renown businessman Bertin Makuza.
“It’s called Peace Plaza because the first investment was peace and security in the country; not money,” Makuza said during the official inauguration of the $42 million property, an event that was presided over by President Paul Kagame.
But how did Makuza raise $42 million, you may ask. Well, the businessman said about half of the money was a loan from the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) and GT Bank, while the rest came from his own savings.
A shining beacon for Kigali City, the 15-floor M. Peace Plaza occupies 42,000 square metres and is one of the biggest buildings in the city. The new building has a retail section, considerable office space and 20 apartments.
Kigali City Hall
The new Kigali City Hall in the centre of Kigali City is considered as an architectural feat achieved by Kigali City authorities.
“Experts say that very few cities in the world have such a big and magnificent city hall,” Fidel Ndayisaba, the mayor of Kigali, said in August during the the building’s grand opening that was also attended by President Paul Kagame.
The building has a conference hall that is capable of seating 300 people, office space big enough to accommodate both Nyarugenge district and the City of Kigali, as well as an exhibition room.
The building, which set back Kigali City by a whopping $14 million, is a masterpiece of modern architecture that is expected to become an iconic symbol of Kigali.
The undisputed top dog in Rwanda’s construction sector is Vision City, the high-end residential and commercial project undertaken by Ultimate Developers Ltd, the country’s largest real estate developer.
The project, whose construction began last year and is expected to be complete in a span of eight years, will add more than 4,500 housing units, including luxury villas and apartments to Kigali’s real estate sector, according to the developer.
Upon completion, Vision City is expected to play an integral part of Kigali’s life – as a domineering element in the city’s swanky residential areas, and as a town centre with retail shops, supermarkets, restaurants, office complex, and a luxury three-star hotel and conference facility.