The upgrading of Biryogo, Agatare, Kiyovu, and Rwampara informal settlements in Nyarugenge District is set to be replicated in other districts of Kigali city, officials have said. The revelation was made in a progressive report of a $10 million project dubbed “Agatare Upgrading Project” that is upgrading informal settlements in Nyarugenge District. The slums were part of different informal settlements in the city that have been said to be in need of upgrading. The approach seeks to upgrade such slums while ‘minimizing recurrent eviction of dwellers’ and thus enables the city to deal with the high housing demand in the city as the residents are facilitated to refurbish their houses. After the pilot phase, City of Kigali officials said that the project is going to be replicated in ten cells of Nyarugenge District, three cells of Kicukiro District and two cells of Gasabo District. Most of these unplanned settlements do not have basic infrastructure such as roads, pedestrian ways, drainages, street lights, electricity, water and others that are needed to facilitate people’s daily businesses. Agatare Upgrading Project which started in 2018 has overhauled informal settlements in Biryogo, Agatare, Kiyovu, and Rwampala areas that are said to host more than 83 per cent of the over 26,000 residents of Nyarugenge Sector in Nyarugenge District. The area is part of what is widely known as Nyamirambo suburb. The district that is inhabited by 220 people per hectare also serves as the Central Business District (CBD) where the slums are adjacent to. The project has been upgrading the settlements by setting up basic infrastructure such as water, roads, disaster control infrastructure, electricity and others to pave the way for residents to upgrade their houses and do businesses. So far, according to the Kigali city’s report, 6.64 kilometres of roads with water channels, and street lights have been constructed to facilitate 15,000 residents. At least 2.5 kilometres of drainages have been built to protect 2,000 residents from floods while 6.2 kilometres of pedestrian ways are to serve 3,000 residents in daily movements for businesses. Improved way of doing business “The basic infrastructure is said to have increased traffic of clients and eased transport of goods while commercial buildings have also been revamped to help businesses,” the assessment indicated. Besides upgrading the slums, the City of Kigali says, the project is also mulling setting up infrastructure to cater to the social welfare of dwellers. The social facilities were selected after collecting views from the parents and kids. The facilities will also help boost their talents in playing different sports including basketball and football. With the improvement of basic infrastructure, the city says, some investors have already established storied-commercial buildings to boost doing business in the area while others have expressed their interest in establishing other new modern business facilities. Area residents previously struggled to get parking spaces and often had to leave their cars unattained. However, with basic infrastructure, the residents easily get parking places close to their homes. The city has also eased the process of refurbishing residents’ houses and also set up basic infrastructure by providing upgrading permits in the suburb under the project. With the upgrading and basic infrastructure, the value of houses and land properties is also expected to go up and boost property owners’ income. Housing by 2050 Kigali city seeks to have 90 per cent citizens in the capital having access to decent housing by 2050 under the new city master plan to be implemented from 2020 up to 2050. This requires citizens’ participation in the planning and implementation while even those who rent can rent at affordable prices depending on their financial capacity. The new master plan introduces a flexible and incremental approach to city development as it seeks to accommodate 3.8 million populations in 2050 from the current 1.6 million populations. The new master plan has allowed flexibility in building affordable residential houses whereby it will also allow improvement of unplanned settlements without necessarily relocating residents. Auxiliary residential units are allowed where a house owner can annex other small houses in smart ways that can help low income earners.