One of the mysteries of living in Kigali is finally being solved and we shall all live happily ever after or so I wish. I am talking about the difficulty we face daily while trying to trace the address of a homes, schools, or business premises. For a foreigner, it may actually be easier to learn a few phrases in Kinyarwanda than to trace a restaurant in Kiyovu.
However, our prayers have been answered as the city council people have kick-started the process of ensuring that every road is named and that businesses and homes have recognisable addresses. According to press reports, the process will take about two weeks.
The New Times reported that, the aim of the current exercise is to have “all roads, avenues and streets” having road signs and numbers based on location and district. I was passing through Nyarutarama and I noticed the new signposts.
Two months ago, I wrote a piece about how much time and money was being lost as people try to locate business premises in Kigali. And I am, therefore, glad that the solution is now being implemented by KCC. It even sounds much better knowing that there are plans to link all this with the world famous Google maps technology.
I can now dream of rich fellows finding places using the satellite navigation in their cars or something like that. I hope I will have graduated from public transport by then to partake in my dream. I cannot wait for the naming process to get to my backyard so I can enjoy the pride of telling people to come and find me at KG 16.
Businesses will always talk of how time is money and indeed this process will save them a lot of both. On many occasions, tracing a place in the city involves numerous phone calls between two or more people and moving back and forth in a car or on a motorcycle after taking the wrong turn or missing the place one is trying to find.
Like I pointed out two months ago, owners of high rise business structures should also name them boldly to help those trying to locate offices. We should not just refer to places as “Iriya etage y’umweru” (the other white tall building). If it is Kigali City Tower or Pensions Plaza, then a huge sign saying so should be visible.
I wish KCC could make this a requirement that owners of huge buildings must meet before being allowed to open for business. Otherwise, it is like driving a car without registration plates.
The ease of tracing a business premise in Kigali actually serves to further boost the country’s impressive doing business rankings by the World Bank and other respected bodies that have always praised the ease with which one can open a business in Rwanda. Thanks to RDB’s swiftness.
Last but not least, I think those in the business of designing and printing business cards are about to make a killing since many will need to make new ones indicating the new names and codes for each street or road in Kigali. How I wish I was part of that industry so I could smile all the way to the bank.