Will revised city master plan address housing problem?

Part of the artistic aerial view of Kigali in the new master plan, which was unveiled on Friday, September 4. If implemented as per the plan, at least 58% the city’s low income earners could get decent housing by 2050. / Photo: Courtesy.

Kigali residents who earn less than Rwf100,000 every month and slum dwellers will benefit from the proposed affordable housing scheme contained in the city’s revised master plan.

“We conducted a study assessing the financial capacity of Kigali residents. We realized that 58 per cent of Kigali residents are low income earners who earn less than Rwf100,000 per month,” Marie Solange Muhirwa, City of Kigali’s Chief of Urban Planning, said, adding that; “Under the new master plan, we have to get affordable houses for them.”

 

58 per cent of Kigali's 1.6 million residents earn less than Rwf100,000.

 

The new master plan, which runs from 2020 to 2050, was unveiled on Friday September 4.

 

The consultants who developed the master plan suggested various solutions to Kigali’s sustained problem of lack of affordable housing.

“Government will also inject funds in such projects to make sure low income earners get decent housing,” she explained.

“The choice is that such low income earners can rent these houses at affordable prices, while others can get bank loans to buy or build their own houses at affordable cost as well as gradually improve their houses in slums.”

Muhirwa explained that the new approaches will integrate the poor in the development projects.

Among the proposals, residents who live in slums where they own land can give the land to investors for development.

“After completing a building, the investor can give part or unit of the building to the plot provider,” Muhirwa

One of the areas where this arrangement will be piloted is Kimisagara Sector in Nyarugenge District.

The city will then roll out the project to other areas. The official added that there are other ways to develop the slums.

“We have another project in the Biryogo area, Nyarugenge District, funded by the World Bank. We are upgrading infrastructure in the areas such as tarmacked roads that will motivate residents to upgrade their houses. The project is about to be completed,” she said.

The same approach, she said, will also be used in slums of Gatenga of Kicukiro, slums in Nyabisindu and Nyagatovu in Gasabo district, slums of Kimisagara, Gitega and Rwezamenyo sectors in Nyarugenge district.

She added slums on sloppy areas will also be upgraded as the new master plan has allowed residents to live on slopes not exceeding 50 per cent but in safe and smart buildings.

“Studies will show how to build on slopes,” she said.

According to local government minister Anastase Shyaka, the new approach in the master plan will eliminate slums and unplanned settlements in the city at affordable cost.

The Minister for Infrastructure, Claver Gatete said that the approaches in the master plan will accommodate 3.8 million population expected in 2050 while creating 1.8 million jobs in Kigali city.

“We need a smart, better and sustainable city as Rwanda wants to exit from a low income to upper-middle income country by 2050. Affordable housing, smart mobility and others are needed,” he noted.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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