Development of $5 billion green city to begin next year

Green Fund Rwanda chief executive Hubert Ruzibiza explains how the green city pilot site in Kinyinya will incorporate affordable housing with innovative financial and loan tools, including rent-to-own options, in Kigali, last year. / Courtesy

Development of a model green city in Kigali is set to get underway in January 2020, The New Times has learnt.

Relevant studies and designs will be completed by December, Eudes Kayumba, Deputy Team Leader of the Green City Pilot project, said.

The urban planner said that the green city will sit on 620 hectares in Kinyinya Sector, Gasabo District complete with a system that prevents environmental degradation and air pollution.

If completed on time, the planned city would be the first-of-its-kind in Africa.

The project aims to showcase the viability of green cities in Rwanda and elements that could be replicated in the development of secondary cities across the country with green technologies and innovations for green and climate resilient urbanisation.

He noted that even though the exact cost of the project is not yet known at the moment, “engineers have estimated between $4 billion and $5 billion.”

According to Kayumba, the funding will come from different stakeholders who have committed to pool resources to ensure the completion of the project.

He explained that the city will have clean technologies, electric vehicles, electric bicycle and motorcycle lanes, renewable energy, sustainable waste treatment, biogas plants, urban forests, among others.

“The estate will also have mini-factories with clean technologies, affordable housing, integrated craft production centres,” he said, adding that the private sector will be involved in all this. “We are conducting a study to estimate the jobs that will be created based on how the residents of the area generate income.”

Currently, Rwanda Green Fund (Fonerwa), with the financial support of the German Development Cooperation – through the KfW Development Bank – is undertaking a feasibility study for the Green Pilot, and contracted Sweco, a European engineering and architecture firm, to support the implementation of the project.

The engineer said the construction will mainly use local building materials which will make houses more affordable and environmentally sustainable.

“When studies get completed later this year, we will start implementation of the project, beginning with key infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads which will also benefit neighbouring communities,” he added.

He said communities surrounding the proposed green city will also be part of the broader green ecosystem.

The project, Kayumba said, “will not displace low-income earners, rather the proposed city will be built in such a way that low-income earners will be empowered.”

A section of the green city will be earmarked for low income earners, he noted.

Different contractors will take part in the project, he said. For instance, under the Cactus Green Park project, 410 houses with green spaces will be developed by Horizon Group Ltd on 13 hectares of land, he added.

Rwanda Social Security Board will develop affordable green houses on 125 hectares.

“There are aspects on social aspects, gender, and credit and loan schemes that will make it possible for low-income earners to access funding to buy affordable houses from the estate,” he said. “Some of them will pay for houses, others will get social houses because they cannot totally afford them on their own.”

Hubert Ruzibiza, chief executive officer of Fonerwa, a key financier in the project, said they were looking to leverage different sources of funding for the project implementation.

The fund has hitherto mobilised over $170 million for green projects in the country. It has so far funded 40 such projects.

“In the next cycle we are looking to mobilise funds to support green city e-mobility solutions, alternatives to use of wood fuel, smart agriculture, water sector,” he said.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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