Mota Engil makes a comeback to Bugesera airport construction deal

Tuesday February 11 2020

PK

President Kagame lays a foundation stone during a groundbreaking ceremony in Bugesera District where a new international airport is ready to be constructed. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

MOSES K. GAHIGI
By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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The government is considering signing a concession agreement with Mota Engil Africa, as a technical partner in the construction of the Bugesera International Airport.

The country seeks to mobilise its portion of the $1.3 billion needed to expedite works in the deal.

In 2016, Mota Engil signed a contract with government to construct the new airport, in a deal where it took 75 per cent of the stake and government retained 25 per cent.

The company was to build and operate the airport for 25 years, with an option of extending this for more 15 years to recoup its investment.

However, in December last year, turn of events saw the government opt for Qatar Airways in a new deal that pushed out the Portuguese.

In the deal, Qatar Airways took 60 per cent of stake in the airport, while government retained 40 per cent.

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The government acquired the 75 per cent shareholding previously owned by the troubled Portuguese firm in order to retain 100 per cent ownership before entering into a new deal with the Qatar Airways.

In the new concessional agreement to be signed with government, Mota Engil will handle all the technical work and the construction of the airport, according to the Minister for Infrastructure Claver Gatete.

“We are soon signing a concession agreement. We will be using the same company Mota Engil which is already on ground, the work continues but we need to scale up, we need to make sure that by the end of 2022 the airport is complete,” he said.

Signing the new technical concession with the government marks a comeback for the troubled Portuguese contractor in the project it helped kick start in 2017.

Mr Gatete maintained the project id still on schedule and will be ready by 2022, despite the delays.

“The work is going at a slow pace right now but as soon as we finish the concessions and other things that we are putting in place things will speed up, you need money to move at a high speed,” he said.

In the meantime, the government is working on the other infrastructures that support the airport.

For instance, the new airport is being connected to electricity, water systems and new roads.

A 13.8km Sonatube-Gahanga-River Akagera road is under construction, and expected to be completed by April.

The Masaka-Bugesera road going through the Kigali Logistics Platform inland dry port run by DP World, which is meant to ease movement of cargo to and from the airport is also under construction.

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