Just after getting re-elected into office, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame laid a foundation stone to officially commission the construction of $818 million Bugesera International Airport (BIA). Kagame who shows commitment towards making Rwanda an economic and ICT hub in east Africa said, “I am pleased to join you today to break ground for this important national project. We are as determined as you are to see this airport completed and operational.”

The $818 million airport will serve as the main airport for the country and will be built in two phases. The first phase which will cost $418 million is to be completed by December 2018, while the second phase which will consist of extension works will cost $400 million.

Kagame further said, “I look forward to celebrating the inauguration of the new airport in the not too distant future.”

Read: Rwanda is about growth, NOT genocide: President Kagame

The facility was conceptualised since 2009 and is targeted at handling a total of 4.5 million people a year when completed. The Rwandan government signed a contract last year September with a Portuguese, Mota Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa to build the airport.

Kagame said during the launch, “We are as determined as you are to see this airport completed and operational. You can count on the government to ensure that all the services and utilities required for the smooth running of the airport are ready in good time. The Kigali International Airport continues to improve in terms of infrastructure and service efficiency however this new airport will be better suited to our national vision”.

“Bugesera is an important part of Rwanda’s strategy for socio-economic transformation. It is key to our ambitions to grow tourism and trade and develop our aviation, finance and IT sectors. We also see this facility as an essential component in strengthening economic integration of our region and boosting intra-Africa trade, investment and business. It is also a logical complement to our national carrier Rwanda Air. Rwandans to whom we are ultimately accountable are now used to having high expectations and they trust us to deliver on this promise. So this is not going to be any different,” President Kagame said.

Read: Rwanda will proceed with the ban on used clothes despite threats by the United States

The airport is located 30 minutes away from Kigali, the country’s capital. Kagame has been lauded for leading Rwanda from a dark past towards a glorious present and future.