Rwanda Woos Investors for Kigali Tourist Facilities
Opening outdoor recreational services
Rwanda government is looking for investors to venture into dedicated recreational zones aimed to make the capital city of Kigali more vibrant in recreational services.
The sprawling Kigali city has revised and launched its Master Plan over the past few weeks, setting aside recreational spaces for more investments that would involve tourist facilities construction and open spaces for outdoor recreational services.
About 6 percent of the City of Kigali has been set aside for recreational spaces in the new master plan. Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment has also zoned the Kigali city wetlands. Of the total wetlands in the city, 20 percent will need to be restored, 29 percent has been dedicated to sustainable utilization which includes vegetable growing, 38 percent will be for conservation activities, and slightly over 13 percent has been dedicated to recreational activities.
The Rwanda Minister for Environment, Jeanne d’Arc Mujamariya, said the wetland master plan will show the number of wetlands and their use. “Then we will work with the Rwanda Development Board to seek investors to help us exploit the wetlands depending on their use,” she said.
The minister said that some wetlands have been developed by the government and could be privatized. “As the government, we are developing some wetlands into recreational space such as Nyandungu wetland to be turned into Ecotourism Park, and once it is completed, it will serve as a model for investors on how they can invest into recreational zones,” she said.
Nyandungu wetland in Kigali has been transformed into an urban wetland recreation and eco-tourism park to generate over US$1 million in profit in the first 12 years of operation. “Investors have already expressed their interest in some wetlands, and they are waiting for details in the wetland master plan,” Mujamariya said.
The City has allocated US$1.46 million, while the Ministry for Trade has allocated US$3 million to move people and businesses from the wetlands. There is an estimated US$11 million in financing from the World Bank to help restore the wetlands as well as build recreational areas.
Recreational zones are also planned in other areas in the city of Kigali made up of gardens with green lawns, colorful indigenous tree species, and refreshment facilities including small ponds of waters with paths designed for sightseeing.
Kiosks have been planned to serve different products such as refreshments and snacks as well as other facilities such as benches and chairs around swimming pools, showers, and washing rooms; bicycle lanes; lights; and places for photography among many other attractive facilities.
The Minister said that the city hall public garden has been completed and opened to the public with free Wi-Fi while the Kigali golf course is at the completion stage and expected to be operational this month.
Kigali Cultural Centre on Rebero Hill in Kicukiro Sector covering 30 hectares is among the largest recreational spaces in Kigali. It will have facilities intended to showcase Rwanda’s traditional and contemporary arts, nature, biodiversity, traditional lifestyle, and history.
Among the operational recreation areas, spaces include Meraneza recreational space developed by Fazenda Sengha on mount Kigali, Juru Park, and others. Other recreational spaces include gardens at roundabouts and many others are being constructed.
“The City of Kigali is actively working on strategies to develop more parks and public green open spaces for its residents,” said the Environment Minister. New public space projects have been planned in various locations in Kigali through a public-private partnership.
Kigali is set to host heads of state and high-profile delegates to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be taking place in June next year.
Branding itself as the “Country of a Thousand Hills,” Rwanda is an upcoming tourist destination in Africa attracting regional and international tourists, banking to its gorilla communities and conference facilities. Several global conferences and meetings have been taking place in Kigali to raise the prominence of Rwanda in regional and global tourism status.