Kigali, August 23rd, 2019- The Government of Rwanda through Rwanda Airports Company (RAC), with funding from the World Bank has been carrying out key infrastructure upgrades at Kamembe International Airport for the last three years. This forms a key component of Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project (GLTFP) where the World Bank funding is channelled.
The Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project financed the upgrading of the Navigational Aids and Weather Equipments, installation of Aeronautical Ground Lighting, Airport Perimeter Fencing and Fence Lighting, improvement of main and standby power supplies and installation of a New Message Handling System at Kamembe airport with the view to connect the Eastern DRC to the GLR and beyond through Rwanda’s main gateway Kigali International Airport.
According to Paul Grummett, the Project Manager, the Perimeter Fencing and Fence Lighting has been completed and the remaining components will be completed in the next 12 months since all Contractors are on board.
The overall project goal is to facilitate cross-border trade between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo by increasing the capacity for commerce and reducing the costs, time, and harassment faced by traders, especially small-scale and women traders, at targeted borderland locations in the Great Lakes region.
The airport has a comparative advantage over other airports in the region: both Goma (DRC) and Bujumbura (Burundi) airports are more than 100km from the Bukavu while Kamembe is 25 minutes flying time from Kigali, through which travelers can connect to the rest of the world. The majority of passengers passing through Kamembe are Congolese (about 90 percent), a significant proportion of whom source tradable goods from the Middle East and ship them through Rwanda. The airport has great potential, with passenger traffic growing at an average of 15 percent per annum between 2006 and 2013, and at an average of 19 percent between 2010 and 2013.
The upgraded infrastructure is paramount to the airport as it will improve its security conditions, safety, compliance with international aviation standards and capacity.