Government plans to develop a suitable institutional framework that would act as a roadmap toward sustainable urbanisation.
Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, the Minister for Infrastructure, said some of the reforms will include implementation of strategies designed to develop Kigali and secondary cities, and seek solutions to high cost residential housing to provide decent homes to low and middle income earners.
The minister was speaking at the closure of the National Forum on Sustainable Urbanisation organised by the International Growth Centre and World Bank in Kigali last week.
“There will also be informal settlements and infrastructure upgrade to facilitate access to basic services. We will embark on economical utilisation of available land and support the rolling out of bankable projects towards affordable housing services where a great deal of results is expected,” Lwakabamba said.
He noted that there would be close collaboration with stakeholders, including international development partners.
Lwakabamba acknowledged that with close to 80 per cent of Rwanda’s urban population living in informal settlements, there was a lot to be done in the urban development process.
“The current rate of urbanisation in Rwanda is about 19 per cent which is far below the average urbanisation rate in Africa (at 37 per cent),” he said.
Godfrey Kabeera, the Director General for National Planning and Research at the Ministry of Finance, said the ministry had put in place strategies to achieve urban development.
He cited infrastructure development as one of the strategies being used to fast track urban growth.
Finance minister Claver Gatete called for cooperation between the various actors (private and public).
The Director of Cabinet in the Prime Minister’s office, James Kimonyo, said there was need to roll out the urbanisation process.
He identified affordability and capacity as some of the challenges hindering urbanisation.
“We may need to develop multi-storied apartments but we also need to look at the issue of affordability, otherwise people will wake up one morning in need of shelter and put up informal structures,” he said.
Sir Paul Collier, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Oxford, urged stakeholders to streamline roles so as to avoid overlapping of jurisdictions and facilitate effective decision making.
Richard Newfarmer, the country director of the International Growth Centre, noted that the country was in position.