Client story

Kigali Innovation City

Supporting the development of a mixed-use smart innovation hub in Rwanda.


Kigali Innovation City Company Limited


Kigali, Rwanda


Feasibility Study, Development Management, Project Management, Cost Management


February 2019 – March 2024


61 ha

About the project

Dubbed the 'Digital Heart of Africa', Kigali Innovation City (KIC) is an urban master plan for a mixed-use smart innovation hub in Rwanda.

The development, built on a 61-hectare site in Kigali's Special Economic Zone, will integrate university campuses, Grade A and incubator office spaces, research and development facilities, business hotels, supporting retail, student housing and residential accommodation with green and sustainable design features. It is part of the Government of Rwanda's Vision 2020 program, aimed at accelerating digital transformation to stimulate regional economic growth.

Through a public-private partnership, Africa50, an infrastructure investment platform founded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and African states, is co-sponsoring the project with the Rwanda Development Board.

Our solution and value add

Owing to our expertise in smart city projects across the Middle East and Africa, JLL was appointed by Africa50 as their lead delivery partner on this project. Our role involved undertaking a feasibility study on the master plan, tenant engagement studies, financing, and capital planning, including the phasing strategy for the design and delivery of the project.

We are also providing project management and cost management services on the construction of KIC's "First Building" – a Grade A office space cum incubator for start-ups and retail spanning six floors. The 6,036 sqm structure will be built on a 4,347sqm plot and marks the beginning of the first phase of the master plan development. Our scope of work includes the entire project cycle from procurement of the design consultant and contractor, design management, project and budget monitoring, and site supervision.

The results

The emerging masterplan for KIC provides the spatial plan and supporting documents (drawings and reports) cover land use planning, architectural themes, land parcellation, landscape/urban design, roads, and infrastructure utilities networks, and works, affection plans, and planning guideline manuals.

KIC currently has committed tenants, including Carnegie Mellon University Africa, the University of Rwanda, and Africa Leadership University, which are already operating on site. With the African Institute of Mathematical Science about to start construction.

It is estimated upon completion, Kigali Innovation City has the potential to create over 50,000 jobs, generate some $150 million in ICT exports annually, and attract over $300 million in foreign direct investment. Over 2,600 students are also expected to graduate annually from the universities inside KIC over 30 years, adding to Rwanda and Africa's pool of tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

Alain Ebobisse, CEO of Africa50 said “The project has significant socio-economic impact and aligns well with our vision of promoting innovation and ICT development in Africa. KIC is an example of how we can partner with one of our shareholder governments to provide project development expertise leveraging their outstanding track record in doing business to mobilize capital for a farsighted, innovative project of global reach.”

Clare Akamanzi, CEO of RDB, added “KIC will build on our economic success, helping us further diversify and modernize our economy while positioning Rwanda as a business hub in the heart of Africa. KIC will enable investors to develop technologies, prove new concepts and scale in Rwanda.”