Last week, the City of Kigali unveiled a new master plan, a more inclusive and progressive document that will guide the capital city’s development for the next 30 years, up to 2050.
Among the key highlights in the long-awaited document is the emphasis on city dwellers of low-income status, who will be catered for in way of decent and affordable housing, while those doing business have been allocated spaces in all neighbourhoods where they can conduct their business.
According to city authorities, their strategies on ensuring affordable housing in the capital was premised on a study that was conducted, showing that at least 58 per cent of the working city-dwellers earn less than Rwf100,000 a month.
The strategies that are being devised include direct injection of funds by the government into construction of affordable housing to cater to this population, and integrating the low-income earners in development projects.
This model, which is already being piloted in Kimisagara Sector, Nyarugenge District, will see slum dwellers who own land give it to investors to develop and the landowners are given housing units on the completed project and the investor sells the rest.
The latter is a good model that should be embraced by the private sector because it does not only address the acute shortage of affordable housing, but also a business opportunity.
For the housing projects, especially those that will be developed through investments by government and other partners, it is important that they also involve city dwellers in the informal sector, other than those with a structured regular income.
On the other hand, it will call for a change in attitude by city dwellers, especially prospective homeowners and developers alike, to make use of the condominium law that has been in existence for several years now.
A condominium is a large property complex divided into individual units and sold separately.
Once embraced, this will lead to optimal use of land – which is continuously becoming scarce – and thereby brings down the cost of owning a home.