It was exciting news for residents of Southern Province’s Gisagara District on Thursday when President Paul Kagame said that construction works for the area’s first tarmac road will begin before the end of the year.
He was speaking at a rally in the district’s Muganza Sector to canvass votes for the RPF-Inkotanyi’s parliamentary candidates.
Other top officials have told The New Times that the Government is indeed getting ready to begin construction works for the road, using mainly funds obtained as a concessional loan from the Saudi Fund for Development.
Both the Minister for Infrastructure, Claver Gatete, and the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, revealed in an interview yesterday that funds to construct the road are available and indeed construction works will start before year-end as the Head of State promised.
“We have reserved funds for it even if we will know the exact cost of the project at its completion but we have enough funds for it,” Gatete said.
Information obtained by The New Times from the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) indicate that the first tarmac road for Gisagara District will be 13.8-km long and its construction works could be completed at the tune of $8 million (about Rwf7 billion).
The road will connect Huye town to Gisagara District headquarters, an area that now boasts a new hotel, a mini-stadium for games such as basketball and volley-ball, as well as different agriculture activities.
Minister Ndagijimana said that the construction of the road will help boost investment in the area by facilitating the transport of both people and goods.
“It’s a remote area that is increasingly becoming an urban area,” he said of Gisagara.
The district’s mayor, Jérôme Rutaburingoga, welcomed the news, explaining that residents here have been yearning for it because it is likely to attract investments.
Rutaburingoga said the asphalt road will connect residents to other major roads in the country and ease transport.
He said that it will attract investors to the area who have been reluctant to even visit Gisagara because the road there is muddy on a rainy season and dusty in a dry season.
“It’s a kind of limitation that we have because investors are reluctant to come here as no one wants to use a dusty road. An asphalt road will change investors’ attitude toward Gisagara,” he said.
Once the construction of the tarmac road is complete, the mayor said, people on business trips in the Southern Province may start spending their nights in Gisagara instead of Huye and feel more interested in buying agricultural produce from the district’s residents.
“The road will change the mindset of investors in many ways,” he said.
The district is one of Southern Province’s food baskets, with farmers here mostly growing rice, maize, and beans.
The area has also recently attracted investments in modern banana beer processing and generation of electricity from peat with a peat power plant in Mamba Sector expected to add 80MW of electricity on the national grid once email@example.com