Green city project to offer free houses to destitute residents

Green Fund Rwanda Chief Executive Officer 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. / Sam Ngendahimana

At least 10 per cent of housing units to be constructed in a model green city in Kinyinya sector of Gasabo district will be offered to destitute residents from 1st and 2nd Ubudehe categories, according to Rwanda Green Fund.

The announcement was made during special Umuganda Community work in Kinyinya sector where the city will be set up.

Ubudehe programme is a socio-economic initiative where Rwandans are classified based on their economic status. The programme, currently classified under four categories—from the first where the poorest members of society belong to the fourth where the wealthiest belong—helps the government to better align services to citizens.

According to Florien Mugabo, the Division Manager of Programs at the fund, the first phase of project will see 30,000 housing units constructed.

“While ten percent of houses will be offered to needy people, the other ten percent will be dedicated to high middle income earners. 80 percent of the residents will get small businesses and get loans to be paid back in a long-term period,” he said.

He emphasized that no resident will be relocated as a way of promoting inclusive urbanization.

“At least 16,000 jobs will be created by the project most of whom will be residents from the same area,” he said.

The design of housing typologies will be completed by April next year so that the implementation of the first phase will be completed by 2023.

“The city must have the capacity to protect the environment and fight against climate change,” he said.

The sustainable and affordable development will integrate green building and design, efficient and renewable energy, recycling and inclusive living as well as homegrown solutions and local construction materials.

The pioneering project for low and middle-income residents, which will sit on 600 hectares, is expected to serve as a model for sustainable urban development that can be replicated across Rwanda and the wider region.

The project is expected to benefit 150,000 people and support the adoption of low carbon technologies.

“The city must have waste treatment technologies since waste emit methane gas that pollutes the air, rainwater harvesting techniques, use of clean energy, transport with electric vehicles among others,” he said.

Mugabo explained that as urbanization grows, there is need of addressing issues related to it.

While estimated cost by engineers was $5 billion, he said that, “The design competition will show the real cost of the whole project implementation, cost and types of houses to be constructed. Initially $2.5 million was allocated to conduct feasibility studies for the project.”

Residents in Kinyinya sector emphasized the need to provide jobs to residents living in the area.

“We are happy that no resident will be relocated but we insist that jobs be given to residents living in the same area,” said Landouard Nyamuberwa, a resident of Kinyinya sector.

Residents especially youth were urged to study TVET courses so that they easily get jobs during construction activities.

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