The construction of the magnificent Kigali Arena, whose cost has not been officially disclosed, is $104 (Rwf 95.6 billion).
A December 2018 report by consulting firm Exotix Capital LLP for Turkish contractor Summa details how the Kigali Arena came into being and that it was funded through a public-private partnership.
The Arena was unveiled by President Paul Kagame at a fanfare opening ceremony on August 9. Kagame said it had taken only 6 months to build, and paid tribute to Summa CEO at the event.
“They worked day and night. And that is how we should all learn to work; fast and producing quality,” said Kagame, noting that 70% of the construction workers were Rwandans.
“This is a product of our very own resources as Rwandans. Building it in a short time did not compromise the quality and it was built with our resources, something we should celebrate,” added Kagame.
Right from the time construction began early this year, the state-of-the-art facility has been a subject of speculation. No official information was provided on cost, as is usually the norm with such high profile projects.
Every lunchtime and throughout the day during the construction period, a medium-size hotel located opposite the construction site was a hive of activity. It had been contracted to feed the hundreds of Turkish workers. The Rwandans were paid to take care of themselves elsewhere.
The Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA), the government agency that handles such projects, published a statement on its website in June stating that the Arena would cost Rwf 2billion ($2.2m). The text was deleted days before the opening.
The Summa financial report shows that from the $104 cost, the firm put in $30m, as government committed $31m, while the rest $43m was acquired as a loan.
The 10,000 seater, Kigali Arena, which can also sit an additional 5,000 if fully packed, has already attracted big clients.
It will host the finals of the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL), which begins March 2020 involving 12 of the top continental teams. The last match in Kigali will be later that year.
The financial report also shows that the Kigali International Convention Center (KICC) is one of Summa’s projects already completed.
The firm has projects in many countries including Senegal (which has similar Arena), airport in Sudan, Benin, Moldova, Niger and Republic of Congo.
The Arena has also completely resulted in the transformation of the neighborhood where it’s located. Previously, it was a dilapidated area dotted with cheap bars, restaurants and garages. All these have been turned into gleaming joints.
The roads around the neighborhood are being tarmacked, and hundreds of poor families pushed out by the raising rents for homes and shop spaces.