Last week, Dubai World, Dubai's investment holding company, announced it will invest $230 million in Rwanda's tourism industry. Dubai World plans to build a five-star tented park at the base of the country's famed gorilla preserve at Volcanoes National Park, an airstrip and hotel at Akagera Park, and a tea estate adjacent to a proposed four-star hotel at Nyungwe forest.
The Rwanda Investments and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA) is aggressively courting ICT and tourism investments as part Vision 2020, an ambitious plan to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by the year 2020.
When I was in Kigali last summer, I spoke to some officers at RIEPA about Vision 2020, and they showed me these really beautiful sketches of luxury cabins, best described as castles of glass, perched over a lake. I believe they had commissioned an American architecture firm to do the drawings. "All we need is an investor," they said. It was one of the many moments during my three weeks in Rwanda where I thought, "Damn, I can't help but admire the sheer audacity of this government's dreams."
Looks like audacity is paying off.
Here's some info on the Dubai World investment in French and English.