The upgrade activities of Remera Sports hub will cost the government over Rwf 220 billion as contract negotiations with potential contractors get closer to being finalized, The New Times has learnt.
According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, at least 35 hectares in Remera, in which Amahoro National Stadium and Kigali Arena are located, will get a facelift so as to produce Remera Sports Hub.
The activities to upgrade the area into a Modern Sports Center were expected to start this year but a reliable source told The New Times that the government is yet to reach a contract agreement with the contractor before the upgrade activities take shape.
Noel Nsanzineza, the Acting Director-General of Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) told The New Times that the government will soon sign a contract with a joint venture between Turkish firm SUMMA, which previously built the State-of-the-art Kigali Arena, and Rwanda Crystal Ventures (CVL) so that upgrade works start in January 2021.
The Sports Center will cover the whole area hosting Kigali Arena, Amahoro Stadium, and Amahoro indoor stadium which must be upgraded, RBC which must relocate, playgrounds and Paralympic Games Gymnasium which also has to be upgraded.
Remera metropolitan police and Remera health center will also be relocated to pave way for the center.
The project will start with the upgrade of Amahoro Stadium whose capacity is expected to increase to 45,000 from the current 25,000 as well as the refurbishment of Amahoro indoor Stadium and the Paralympic Games Gymnasium.
Nsanzineza explained that delays in upgrade works on the Remera Sports Hub project have nothing to do with Covid-19 financial crisis because the government has financing options for the project.
“The Ministry of Finance is exploring various options of financing the project without necessarily jeopardizing initiatives geared towards Covid-19. The government is looking for external financing [loan] for the upgrade project of the sports center,” he said.
The Sports Center is also expected to have a shopping mall and as well as a hotel that will be financed by the National football governing body (FERWAFA).
The Ministry of Infrastructure recently told the media that a master plan of the sports center had been developed and all games that will be hosted in the center are mapped on the master plan.
Boosting sports development
Remera Sports Center is expected to be home to playgrounds of different games including Basketball, Football, Tennis courts and bicycles lanes among others.
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Stakeholders in the Sports sector have commended the country for availing as many sports infrastructures as possible as it can inspire local players and teams to work harder to get better results from international competitions hosted not only in Rwanda but also abroad.
For Alexis Sharangabo, the Secretary-General of Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee, having good sports infrastructures is a good sign that Rwanda is on the right path to build the future of sports development but appealed for more facilities across the country from which new talents can be detected and nurtured into future sports stars.
“As a former Olympian, especially athlete, I know what having sports infrastructures means. To have facilities that are on international standards helps teams/players to improve their performances,” Sharangabo said.
“But we need to see more facilities built from the grassroots level where the majority of talents are born and raised because not everyone can access these high-standard facilities,” he said
He added that such facilities also pave an opportunity for Rwanda to boost sports tourism through hosting international tournaments and sports conferences.
“There are chances of hosting more international competitions where our teams can learn experiences from visiting teams but the country can also benefit from revenues generated by these facilities,” he said.