Rwanda is to construct an international airport with an investment of $818m.

The country has signed an agreement with the African unit of Mota-Engil, a Portuguese construction firm, for the airport's development.

The first construction phase will use an investment of $418m.

"The first phase is for 1.7 million passengers (per year) capacity and it gets all infrastructure associated for $418 million."

Construction of the airport is slated to commence in June 2017 and be completed by December 2018.

Rwanda initially planned to construct the new Bugesera International Airport in 2011, and invited bids to design, build, and operate the airport over a 25-year concession period.

Mota-Engil Africa CEO Manuel Antonio Mota was quoted by as saying: "The first phase is for 1.7 million passengers (per year) capacity and it gets all infrastructure associated for $418 million."

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As per the agreement, Mota-Engil will operate the airport for 25 years, and have the option to extend the period for another 15 years.

The first phase will see construction of passenger and cargo terminals and a 4.2km runway to cater to large commercial airplanes.

The second phase will involve the construction of a second runway and more terminals.

This phase will increase the airport's handling capacity to 4.5 million passengers per year.

It has not been divulged when the the second phase will commence.