The government is on track to repay the $400 million Eurobond loan it acquired in 2013 to fast-track investments including the construction of the Kigali Convention Centre and investing in the national carrier RwandAir.
“We are paying very well; we have never defaulted and our investors are happy; we are confident that we shall complete payment within the agreed time which is 2023,” said the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana.
He said that the completion of the Kigali Convention Centre and its subsequent success in hosting big international conferences has given impetus to the repayment process.
“Since it opened in 2014, the convention centre has been busy. We host more than 100 conferences every year,” he said.
Among the international events the convention centre has hosted are the African Union Summit, Transform Africa, Interpol African Regional Conference and the Africa CEO Forum.
Others are the Next Einstein Forum, Mo Ibrahim Good Governance Meeting, Africa Green Revolution Forum, the GSMA Mobile 360 Africa, and the 5th International Conference on Family Planning.
Thousands of delegates flocked to Rwanda to attend these conferences, enabling the country to reap big in conference tourism. By the start of December last year, the country had hosted 30,000 international delegates, exceeding the 28,000 hosted in 2017, further cementing itself as a preferred meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) destination.
Revenue from Mice grew by 180 per cent between 2008 and 2017, while the number of delegates visiting Rwanda jumped from 15,000 in the same period.
The country generated $42 million from Mice tourism alone in 2017, and is targeting $88 million this year, according to the Rwanda Convention Bureau.
Rwanda is yet to host its biggest event yet, which is the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2020.
IMF says Rwanda’s external debt had grown by 27 per cent to about 40 per cent, largely due to large infrastructure projects like the Kigali Convention Centre, RwandAir expansion and the Bugesera International Airport. It projected the economy will grow by 7.8 per cent this year.