Rwanda’s Aviation Center for Excellence Receives $23.6 Million Funding.

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On November 13, the Rwandan lower house of Parliament gave its approval to a financing deal worth $23.6 million (about Rwf29 billion) for the establishment of a Center of Excellence for Aviation Skills (CEAS).

According to officials, it will function as a training hub for aviation academies to address the industry’s need for skilled labor.

According to Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, it will accomplish this by producing aviation personnel, such as pilots and experts, with international accreditation, such as that from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), which pledged the funds, and the Rwandan government signed the loan deal on October 16.

According to Ndagijimana, there is a 10-year grace period before repayment begins, and there is a one-percent interest rate. The repayment period is 40 years.

According to him, the project is in line with supporting Rwanda’s aviation industry.

The African Development Bank Group stated on October 19, 2023, that the loan previously specified for the building and furnishing of a new aviation training facility in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, had been approved by its Board of Directors on September 29 of that same year.

It further stated that the project’s components are connected to Kigali International Airport’s current services and facilities by the proximity of the proposed location to other associated structures.

According to the AfDB, it is anticipated to support Rwanda’s aspirations to establish itself as a regional aviation hub and attract foreign investment from the aviation sector. It also fits with Rwanda’s Vision 2050 to enhance human capital through the provision of top-notch training, labor upskilling, and workforce transformation for increased productivity.

The AfDB estimates that when the Center partially opens for business in 2025, it will be able to accommodate up to 500 students.

The facility will provide maintenance, cabin crew, and pilot training. In addition, it will offer repeated training in flight simulators, advanced pilot training for specialty missions, and instruction in drone operation.

According to industry observers, Africa will require approximately 50,000 aviation professionals over the next 20 years, including 15,000 pilots, 17,000 technicians, and 23,000 cabin crew personnel, as noted by the AfDB.

The Bank’s Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo, stated that the Center will make it possible for young people in Rwanda and throughout East Africa to have access to opportunities for skill development.

“Overall, the project aligns with the Bank’s Skills for Employability and Productivity in Africa Action Plan, which stipulates ways of elevating the skills level of Africa’s workforce,” Nwabufo observed.

The ability for Rwanda to teach aviation professionals domestically is a welcome development, according to MP Pierre-Claver Rwaka. He noted that it was expensive to transfer them overseas to obtain the necessary training.

John Ruku-Rwabyoma, an MP from “the project symbolizes Rwanda’s uniqueness and it is not only coming to support Rwanda alone but also to bring a change to the current situation in Africa.” He said it fits well with RwandAir’s strategy to link Africa.

According to Ndagijimana, the project is crucial. “As we are a landlocked country, building capacity in air transport is crucial,” he said, pointing out it is strategic and helpful to do that through airport expansion or construction, increasing flights and routes as well as having a hub to train competent aviation staff.

An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study on the Aircraft Hangar and Center of Excellence Aviation Training Center Project, prepared by Akagera Aviation and dated May 2023, indicated that the project was anticipated to carry a $53.5 million price tag.

The $23.6 million in funding that has been acquired, according to Minister Ndagijimana, The New Times, is sufficient to support the planned operations, which include building construction, providing equipment, and creating curricula and programs that adhere to international standards.

The government would seek further money for the center, he added, if it grows.

 

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