The cost of infrastructure development and service delivery will continue to increase as long as there are scattered settlements across the country, Esther Mutamba, the director general of Rwanda Housing Authority, has said.
“Extending services like electricity, water, schools, roads and hospitals is sometimes difficult because of the scattered settlement patterns in the country which increase costs of service delivery,” Mutamba said during workshop on the development of secondary cities across Rwanda in Kigali last week.
Mutamba urged local government and urban planners to always ensure infrastructure development plans foster delivery of basic services to communities.
Joost Mohlmann, the United Nations habitat human settlement officer, called for early long-term planning if the programme to develop satellite cities in different parts of Rwanda is to succeed.
“It is important to consider factors like social interconnectivity, topographic challenges, environment protection and infrastructure services when designing plans for the identified secondary cities,” Mohlmann advised.
The government plans to develop six satellite cities as part of the second phase of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) to stimulate economic activities, curb rural-urban migration and boost social infrastructure services. These are Huye, Rubavu, Nyagatare, Rwamagana, Rusizi and Musanze.
Rwanda’s rural urban migration rate stands at 4.8 per cent compared to that at the global level that stands at 1.9 per cent.
Silas Lwakabamba, the Minister for Infrastructure, called for proper planning to ensure sustainable and orderly urban development across the country. “It is, therefore, important that we understand the principles of urbanisation so as to have a shared roadmap towards achieving our economic objectives,” Lwakabamba said in a statement.
Fred Sabiti, the Mayor of Nyagatare District in Eastern Province, said there is need for information, acquiring the right technology and expertise to develop the secondary cities successfully.
“There is still a lot to learn, especially getting the necessary knowledge, resources and expertise to implement the project,” Sabiti said.