Rwanda will on 7th October 2013 join the rest of the world in celebrating World Habitat Day, a time to reflect on the state of towns and cities worldwide.
The country’s minister for infrastructure, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, has indicated that Rwandans will use the occasion to reflect on the state of shelter and mobility in towns across the country.
“It is also intended to remind the world that we all have responsibility to shape the future of our cities while improving on the living conditions of our people” the minister has said.
The United Nations has picked “Urban Mobility” as this year’s theme for the day, essentially advising world citizens to reflect about issues of mobility and access to goods and services in their respective cities.
“Accessible cities encourage a shift towards more sustainable modes of transportation and draw more and more travellers out of cars and onto trains, buses, bike paths and sidewalks,” officials at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, have said.
According to Lwakabamba, it remains essential to note that communities around the country have committed themselves to ensuring a variety of efficient, safer, and sustainable alternative modes of transport.
They include roadside pedestrian pavements and cycling lanes among other ways set up in their localities.
Like in other parts of the world, one of the challenges facing the country is the urban sprawl where cities are expanding horizontally resulting in high cost of transportation.
Officials say that a good design of the city is the one which promotes appropriate compact settlements where people can effectively and cheaply access infrastructure and services to share amenities and utilities.
Plans laid out in Rwanda’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) touch on how to urbanise the country’s rural areas by setting up six secondary cities across the country to act as economic poles of growth for regional urban balance. Such forms of human settlements are designed to create a channel to ensure easier mobility and accessibility to infrastructure and services such as roads, electricity, sanitation facilities, water, and waste management facilities.