Billed as a “gateway to Africa”, the high-tech facility comes ahead of implementation of the continent’s new free trade area in 2020.

President Paul Kagame on October 21st presided over the inauguration of the Kigali Logistics Platform (KLP), a state-of-the-art facility expected to boost international trade, The New Times reported.

The platform, operated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) logistics firm DP World, is a dry port located in the Kigali suburb of Masaka, and is expected to ease trade both in Rwanda and in neighbouring markets.

It is the first of its kind in the region.

The country’s largest inland cargo handling facility came into being courtesy of a 25-year concessional agreement signed between Rwanda and the UAE in 2016.

President Kagame, who toured the facility prior to the launch, said he was impressed with the high level of technology being used at the platform, which he said is a key catalyst for trade.

The head of state said the KLP is part of Rwanda’s efforts to ready itself ahead of the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), slated for July 2020.

“That trading [under AfCFTA] would not be possible without the infrastructure and through facilities like this, as Rwanda we are doing our part,” President Kagame said.

Speaking at the launch, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World chief executive, said that the facility, whose first phase cost US$35m, will be used as a gateway to the African market.

“We see Rwanda as a gateway to the heart of Africa. We want to use this gateway and we are happy because we have an efficient partner in the government of Rwanda,” Sulayem said.

The KLP will connect to neighbouring countries and the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. Image: CC 2009

With a capacity to a capacity of 198 trucks, 20,000 square metres of bonded warehouse storage and a container of 50,000 TEUs per year, the launch of this dry port will enable traders within and outside the country to save time while conducting business.  

The KLP will connect Rwanda to neighbouring countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The facility will also ease access to the ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

When operating at full capacity, it has the potential to save Rwandan businesses up to $50m a year in logistics costs, noted Chinese news agency Xinhua

Since the commencement of its operations in the Rwandan capital in 2018, the KLP has reduced truck-turnaround time from 10-14 days to just three days, Dubai Media Office tweeted.

The second phase to expand the facility will focus on introducing new technologies like refrigerated storage to facilitate efficient handling of perishable goods, PANA reported.

The expansion of the facility during this phase will be implemented along the framework of the AfCTA.

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Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin: 

African Union: Free Trade Zone Endorsed
Economic, Financial and Technical series
Vol. 56, Issue 6

Rwanda: Kigali Innovation City
Economic, Financial and Technical series
Vol. 56, Issue 8

Ports and Shipping: Rwanda
Economic, Financial and Technical series
Vol. 56, Issue 8

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