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Rwanda: Qatar Takes 60% in Delayed Bugesera Airport

The Government of Rwanda and Qatar Airways have today Monday concluded an investment partnership for Rwanda’s new international airport.

The partnership features three agreements to build, own, and operate the state-of-the-art facility.

“Qatar Airways has agreed to take a 60% stake in the project, which as a whole is valued at around $1.3 billion,” the Rwandan government said in a statement to ChimpReports on Monday night.

Rwanda had been seeking funds for the new airport that will be its largest and whose construction began in August 2017 with a deadline set for 2020.

The government entered into a public-private partnership with Portuguese firm Mota Engil that granted the company the rights to operate the airport for 25 years to recoup its total investment, estimated at about $820 million, with an option to extend the agreement for 15 years.

The East African newspaper recently reported that late last year, the government suspended construction works to “make improvements in design and quality and even expand it.”

Mota Engil injected $418 million in the initial phase of the project. The second phase had been estimated to cost $382 million.

But the redesign was expected to push up costs and forced Rwanda to hunt for more financiers.

Mota Engil, a Portuguese firm, is said to have abandoned the project due to contractual disagreements with government.

Government said the new airport is being “redesigned to accommodate seven million passengers per year, with a second phase for 14 million passengers a year expected to start by 2032.”

Mota Engil had said the facility of international standards would have the capacity to handle about 1.7 million passengers every year.

Upon completion of the first phase which was planned for December 2018, Mota said they would commence expansion works which would increase the airport’s capacity to 4.5 million passengers per year.

Nevertheless, the Rwandan government said “The agreements signed today mark a key milestone in the development of Rwanda’s vibrant aviation sector, in the context of the excellent bilateral relationship between Qatar and Rwanda.”

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