Editorial: Fast track the upgrade of secondary cities

The Government will soon assess the potential of all secondary cities as it seeks to distribute the headquarters or key departments of parastatals across different parts of the country.

The Government will soon assess the potential of all secondary cities as it seeks to distribute the headquarters or key departments of parastatals across different parts of the country.

The move, according to Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA), is aimed at boosting economic development in secondary cities that have been designated in different regions of the country.

The six secondary cities are Musanze in Northern Province, Nyagatare in Eastern Province, Huye and Muhanga in Southern Province, and Rubavu and Rusizi in Western Province.

The initiative is a good move and will go a long way in curbing high rates of rural urban migration, especially to Kigali city, which hosts the headquarters of almost all the parastatals and government institutions.

According to data from National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, 60 percent of those who migrate in search of jobs end up in Kigali due to easy accessibility to infrastructure, investment opportunities, and other socio-economic aspects in the city.

However, for this initiative to be effective, there is need to fast track the development of the secondary cities to acquire the infrastructure package that befits a secondary city.

This includes affordable houses where the working population can be accommodated, healthcare facilities, and industries, among others.

Early this year, RHA launched a project to develop 30,000 housing units in the City of Kigali and secondary cities, of which about 1,500 are under construction.

Also, the World Bank, together with the Ministry of Infrastructure, prepared a Country Support Programme for Urban Development, to be implemented over four years (2016-2020) to a tune of $95 million, to finance implementation of prioritised infrastructure investment projects in the City of Kigali and the secondary cities.

As part of this envelope, $80 million will go towards development of basic infrastructure in Secondary Cities. If these projects are fast tracked, secondary cities will play a critical role in accelerating national development and decentralisation of social services.

 

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