Ministry of Infrastructure: Special Report 2011

Infrastructure: The backbone of Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation By Thomas Kagera EXQUISITE buildings silently grow, there in front of you, in the sides and beyond, alongside excellently built roads that snake and unspool from Kigali City through the hills, connecting districts and Rwanda to the region.

Infrastructure: The backbone of Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation

By Thomas Kagera

EXQUISITE buildings silently grow, there in front of you, in the sides and beyond, alongside excellently built roads that snake and unspool from Kigali City through the hills, connecting districts and Rwanda to the region.

Efforts in electrification are seen throughout the country, coupled with water connections. These are all geared towards achieving the Vision 2020 ideals and President Paul Kagame’s promise of a better Rwanda.

The Ministry of infrastructure is mandated with overseeing five subsectors of; Energy, Water and Sanitation, Transport, Housing and Meteorology.  The last 16 years since the country was liberated from the genocide regime have seen its infrastructure—both hard and soft—growing substantially. The dilapidated road network has been purged, a collapsing housing sector resuscitated, the dying flame of the energy sector now given more focus and the meteorology department given a new breath of life. 

These are the subsectors that enable all other parts of the economy to flourish, eventually transforming the lives of Rwandans.

How does this happen despite the constrained financial and human resources? This Special Report on Infrastructure answers the question with demonstrations from the information gathered from different sub-sectors. It is worth reading every bit of this report.

Minister’s word

Infrastructure: The backbone for prosperity creation

RWANDA was known and ranked for generations as a very poor and tiny country, almost insignificant, and I do not hesitate to say that it was seen as a place of no value to the world. That is why sections of the populations were persecuted and forced into exile repeatedly and no major actions heard from the International Community, even on the African Continent itself.

The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi under world famous cameras is the ultimate demonstration of what Rwanda meant to the world.

Today, Rwanda is seen differently—a beacon of hope in Africa. A place of change –likely to achieve the MDGs, a place of zero-tolerance to corruption, a world class reformer to create a conducive environment for business, a leader in gender policies and environment protection, to name a few.

What is the secret behind the scenes and what is the next step? The driving force is the current leadership crafted by President Paul Kagame, a unique man with focus, stamina and determination.

He has devoted his leadership to character, discipline and delivery—in both conventional and unconventional ways and moves the country to the next level and to the highest one possible.

This new spirit is seriously delivering development and substantially changing the livelihoods and mindsets of Banyarwanda. We are more united than we were 100 years ago, we are forging work ethics and a high standard culture of doing things. Poverty levels are getting reduced. Health and education indicators are seriously improving. Food security has increased tremendously and income related to agricultural production is growing fast. The service sector growth and the institutional development and reforms taking place are key ingredients for sustainability.

Infrastructure development is given special focus and concentration now. Bad infrastructure impedes trade, quality of life and definitely the capacity for a country to grow.

Remarkable progress has been made in the water sector, where in less than 10 years Rwanda moved from 47% to currently 75-80% access to clean water. A Water Information Management system is being put in place to monitor and create a systematic and electronic water data-base. Electrification rate from the grid and off-grid sources has grown from 6% access in 2005 to the estimate of 12-15% today. A comprehensive survey is ongoing to determine, by June this year, the accurate rate while creating, as well, a dynamic data-base.

Major roads of the country have been rehabilitated, new ones constructed and more projects will commence in 2011 and beyond.

Energy transmission and roll-out programmes have taken a tremendous momentum as 65% of the country is covered by a grid system that is connected to optical fibre for monitoring operations. Substations and interconnections to borders with neighbouring countries are being constructed. We achieved a shift from 35% to 18% electricity loss. 

Despite the progress and investments mainly in the last seven years, the critical mass of required energy to boost our economy has not been reached, currently we are at 96 Megawatts installed capacity only.

The road network needs to be expanded and both the financial and technical capacity for maintenance to be strengthened systematically and in an innovative way to sustain good road infrastructure. So far, out of the 14,000km national network, about 1,100km is paved and about 4,000km of gravel roads are in acceptable conditions.

Agencies for Transport, Energy Water, Housing and Meteorology are getting established and operational. Policies and long-term strategies in all our sub-sectors are under preparation and shall be out for implementation come June 2011.

Rwanda’s Transformation to the next level is not a dream, neither are the planned 1,000 Megawatts of energy, water for all in 2015, sanitation for all by 2012, a critical mass of quality roads, decent habitat and reliable meteorological information during the current mandate of President Kagame.

Urban development is underway and promising. A lot of emerging commercial centers and extended agglomerations in all provinces as a sign of domestic investment, growth and people’s confidence in the country are present all across the country. The Ministry is assisting all emerging towns with Master Plans and physical planning for a better structured habitat in the country.

The Ministry’s current focus is to build up institutions of policy and implementation that are up to modern corporate standards so as to optimize on quality planning, projects development, management  and resource mobilization to implement projects. Our leader, President Paul Kagame is the driving force of our vision and actions and in our pursuit of these objectives we emulate his sense of urgency and results.

Vincent Karega
Minister of Infrastructure

Focus on the energy sector

Powering the Economy

Powering production, saving the environment and improving the economy

IN line with the Vision 2020, the Energy Sector has set ambitious targets in its Strategic Plan, to increase the electricity access rate from less than 15% to 50% by the year 2017 to serve as an engine for the socio-economic development of the country. Power supply is and will be developed from all possible sources of energy in the country; from hydropower resources, Lake Kivu Methane Gas, Geothermal and Peat Resources.  It is expected that a cumulative total installed capacity of 1000 MW will be achieved by 2017, including generation from the above mentioned energy sources.

Vision and mission of the energy sector

The vision of the energy sector is to contribute effectively to the growth of the national economy and thereby improve the standard of living for the entire nation in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner. The energy policy vision contributes directly to achieving Rwanda’s Vision 2020 short, medium and long-term goals.  It will also contribute to promoting Rwanda’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals especially poverty reduction, gender empowerment and sustainable growth.

The mission of the energy sector is to create conditions for the provision of sufficient, safe, reliable, efficient, cost-effective and environmentally appropriate energy services to households and to all economic sectors on a sustainable basis.

Sector performance

According to Eng.Yussuf Uwamahoro, who is the Coordinator of the Energy Sector, Rwanda has managed to move from an emergency situation with severe power shortages in 2004 to a situation with reliable power supply; in which new generation, transmission and distribution projects in the electricity sector are gaining international recognition. In order to remain on track with the energy sector development agenda, it will be necessary to build sufficient local capacity and encourage the private sector to get involved.

Energy sector interventions are meant to support both rural productive activities and industrialization. In this regard, Rwanda has plans to expand electricity generation capacity, and to develop local resources such as methane from Lake Kivu, as well as numerous potential hydro-power sites around the country, peat deposits. Installation of solar photovoltaic systems  for remote rural electrification and installation of solar water heaters to save electricity,  are some  of the means that have been employed to respond to electricity shortage and sustain the environment.

To increase electricity access for the Rwandan population, the Electricity Roll Out Program which commenced in 2009, has seen over 45,000 new household connections done, bringing the total number of connections to about 187,703. RECO has managed to improve electricity transmission and distribution, efficiency and stability of supply both in rural and urban areas.

The GoR has ambitious plans to triple generation capacity, from a 2006 baseline up to 2012 to 130 MW and increase access to power to 16% of households (350,000 households) by 2012, on the way to meeting electricity demand in 2020 projected to be a maximum of 1000MW by 2017. 

The Electricity Roll Out Programme has been put in place to ensure extension of the network and efficient service delivery. So far 80 % of health centres, 95% of administrative offices and 20% of schools are electrified through either grid connections or reliable off-grid solutions such as Solar PV systems, compared to 50%, 25% and 20% respectively in 2008.

Future electrification efforts will have to put emphasis on schools. A connection policy is being developed to define the criteria to be used as to which connections shall be done when, and who shall benefit from this connectivity, which will, partly, depend on existing infrastructures available in the area.

Progress has been made in reducing technical losses and commercial losses from 23% in 2008 to around 20% in 2010. Efforts are underway to reduce those to 15% by 2012. In 2009 a total of 26,714 Minutes of power outages occurred which were mainly due to construction, rehabilitation and extension of the network.

More work in progress


The hydropower unit is developing and promoting hydropower plants all over the country, in order to tap this local source of energy. Nyabarongo hydropower plant, for example, is expected to generate 28 MW by 2013. Recently, the construction of Rukarara Hydropower Plant was completed, with a potential of feeding 9.5MW into the national grid. Seven micro hydropower plants under construction are expected to inject 6.2MW on completion. These are supported by the development partners and the Government of Rwanda. Private investors have so far sought licences to tap the small waterfalls that are far from the national grid so that they can power rural areas.


In search of a sustainable alternative to firewood and charcoal, MININFRA has developed strategies to make modern energy sources such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, and improved cook stoves both for wood and charcoal, available to the population (in response to the call of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—to ease pressures on the environment.
• Biogas:

MININFRA is implementing the National Domestic Biogas Programme (NDBP) to promote domestic biogas technology as an alternative to firewood, especially to farmers who at least have two cows and access to water.

The main objective of the program is to develop a sustainable domestic biogas industry, with 15,000 digesters operating throughout Rwanda by 2012. The biogas program has been successfully integrated into the Rwandan society, through well trained biogas construction companies, the promotion and marketing of the program which gave rise to the demand, and the subsidy system offered to farmers through Banque Populaire du Rwanda, as a way of facilitating farmers to acquire the digesters. To date about 1000digesters have been constructed. In 2009, MININFRA still found it effective to introduce this technology to institutions such as schools, health centers and prisons.

• Improved Cook stoves in Urban and Rural areas:

The program was initiated to promote sustainable usage of forest resources, especially the amount of wood and wood residues used for cooking areas through popularization and dissemination of improved stoves. For urban areas, the overall objective of the project is to reduce the amount of charcoal used for cooking through dissemination of improved stoves in urban areas and it is expected that an intensive promotion program will be carried out to increase the coverage from 50% to 100% by 2012.

• Peat: Negotiations with private investors to generate out of this resource at least 150MW of electricity are going on and getting fast-tracked since peat electricity is the easiest to generate. Other applications such as fire briquettes are already in use in prisons, artisanal brick making and the cement factory—CIMERWA.

•  Promotion of Cooking gas (LPG – Liquefied Petroleum and gas):

MININFRA has initiated the process of establishing LPG standards and harmonizing the regulation with East African LPG standards. This was done wit a view of setting measures for safety and usage of cooking gas in households, schools, hotels and other institutions. The promotion of the use of LPG and Kerosene as cooking and heating fuels to reduce the biomass contribution in the energy balance.  Has begun in 2010, and intensive promotion campaigns through the media targeting the removal of fear and emphasise convenience in the use of LPG is ongoing through different media. Besides, taxes and import duties have been alleviated which has brought the LPG costs down to suit the affordability of the product at least to urban residents, who have responded positively to the promotion.

Methane Gas

Currently KP 1 pilot plant is extracting methane gas and is feeding generated power into the national grid. The installed capacity of this plant, which is the only one of its kind todate is 4.5 MW. The process to lease this plant to private sector will be completed in March this year with a three-year plan to uplift that plant to 50MW.

The Rwanda Energy Company (REC) pilot station of 3.6 MW has been tested but is currently being reinforced and re-designed. A better way forward is under review.

The largest private investment in methane gas is planned by  an American firm, Contour Global which is intending to generate 100 MW for the national grid by using Lake Kivu Methane Gas The first phase of 25 MW is under construction with the completion date set for 2012.

Other investors are currently at different development stages for projects to produce liquid fuels and fertilizers from Lake Kivu Methane gas.

We cannot say that the Kivu Methane project has stalled. The Minister of state for Energy and Water Eng Coletha Ruhamya asserts that: “Lake Kivu is unique and the technology it requires to exploit the methane therein is also unique. The investment needs a lot of studies, which take time, to agree on the extraction mechanics, without compromising the safety of the environment while at the same time ensuring sustainability and stability of the lake. So the delay is not because the project is not economically viable, but because the technology required is new, we are trying to see which one works best.”


Solar business enterprise

There is a deliberate policy to encourage the facilitation of the promotion of solar products or solar-powered radios, mobiles phones and lamps. In collaboration with the Private Sector Federation (PSF), the promotion will introduce marketing skills, so that local people  can set up their own businesses, selling solar products such as telephone chargers, solar energy radios and lamps.

Solar for domestic use

In rural homes far from the grid, school children and teachers are to be facilitated to acquire solar lanterns, so that children can study at home and their family evenings are brightened at an affordable cost.

Solar PV systems in schools, clinics and community centers will give pupils and teachers access to reliable electricity supply that will help increase literacy, school attendance and teacher retention.

A project to electrify more 10 percent of schools is underway which will contribute to the  attaining of the 50% target of electrified schools by 2012.

Solar water heaters

Industries, hotels, public institutions, hospitals and domestic houses are being encouraged to use solar water heaters as a means of reducing the amount of energy used and promoting efficient use of energy. MININFRA will work with the private sector to implement the subsidy scheme for the promotion of solar water heater facilities.


Geothermal exploration is ongoing in Rwanda with surface studies completed. Additional data is being acquired and exploration wells shall be drilled to prove the availability of the resource and the steam. This effort will lower risks and help to determine the exact size of the resource and therefore attract private sector participation in geothermal development. MININFRA has identified the southern slopes of Karisimbi as the highest priority and potential area for exploration, with three sites already identified, and works expected to start before the end of this year. Drilling on hopefully subsequent investments are planned for this year so that the expected 310MW can be reached in the next 3 to 5 years.

More energy, more development

In Mid January, the electrification of 300 schools through Solar PV has commenced, most of them rural. This has got a direct bearing on students’ and teachers’ exploitation of the facility—the hours of revision, preparation of lesson plans and schemes of work, connecting their computers—for power and internet.

Since Rwanda is intending to become an ICT hub It will be crucial to build both the communication network and the power system that will support all ICT applications.  

In the process of transforming the informal economy to a formal economy, turning sole businesses into enterprises and developing small scale industries and SMEs, a vibrant and competitive energy sector will greatly contribute to attaining the country’s development goals.

Lake Kivu Monitoring

Lake Kivu Monitoring program started in October 2008, with 3 field technicians working on the Lake, with the technical assistance of an expert in limnology.

Rules and regulations that should govern the designs and operations of methane gas extraction facilities have been drafted by a group of International Experts. They need to be implemented by operators and to be enforced in DRC and in Rwanda

The institutional framework for management and monitoring of lake Kivu is under study

Oil and petroleum

Rwanda being a landlocked country, the supply of Petroleum products, are very important for all economic activities especially transport. The program aiming to increase the petroleum storage capacity hence the supply security for petroleum products has been put in place:

 Target in EDPRS: to have a petroleum storage capacity for 4 months
 Current capacity: 2 months (31 million liters)
 Projected annual consumption in 2012: 287, 24 Mo liters. Hence 23.94 Mo liters/month and 95,76 Mo liters/4months
 Additional needed capacity: 64.76  Mo litters

Future Oil Programs

 Construction of pipeline Eldoret- Kampala-Kigali, a cheap and secured mean of transport for petroleum products
 Petroleum exploration in Rwanda, studies underway
 Various Petroleum storage facilities projects are currently at different phases of development by private investors. The aim is to achieve the EDPRS target of additional storage capacity: 64.76  Million liters in 2012.

Focus on the transport sector

Mobility is development

Connecting villages to cities and Rwanda to the World

RWANDA is a landlocked country in the heart of Africa and far from the maritime ports on the Indian Ocean, with the nearest port of Dar es Salaam being around 1,400km from Kigali. This poses a major challenge to our National Development efforts.

Transport infrastructure in Rwanda, comprises of Road transport, which is the main form of passenger and cargo transportation, with a network of about 14,000 km (with a 4, 698 km of classified road network) corresponding to a road density of 0.53 km/km², Air transport with one  international airport and a project for another international airport in Bugesera, and six aerodromes spread across the country, and Lake transport, which is limited mainly to Lake Kivu.

Rwanda does not have a Rail transportation system but the rail road systems of the neighbouring countries (Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya) which are used as transit routes contribute in a small way for goods originating from or destined for Rwanda, in a multi-modal railway-road combination. Beyond physical infrastructure, the sector also provides transport services, by the public and private sectors.Transportation costs in Rwanda are estimated to contribute to more than 40% of the total value of imported or exported goods respectively as compared to between 6.5 and 11% in developed countries.

The transport sector contributes considerably towards poverty reduction and economic growth, and serves to support other economic sectors. It plays a fundamental role in the economy of Rwanda as it contributes about 6% (Average Annual – 2001-2006) to the GDP, and represents about 9.4% (Average Annual – 2001-2006) of total service delivery. The transport infrastructure in the National Economy has been continuously growing since 1995, and is expected to grow further.

There has been a steady increase in the allocation of resources to the transport sector both from internal and external sources of finance, which is a clear demonstration of the importance that the Government of Rwanda places on the development of the Transport Sector. The allocation within the MININFRA budget to the transport sector has been fluctuating between 47 and 51% during the period 2003 – 2008 (47% in 2003, 51% in 2004 and 49% in 2008), while the fund allocation for the transport sector has increased from about RwF9.5billion in 2003, to RwF17.9billion in 2008. Although the fund allocation has increased over the past years, the necessity for rehabilitation and maintenance of transport infrastructure has also increased exponentially.

Transporting wealth in and poverty out of Rwanda

The main targets during the current EDPRS (2008-2012) are: to increase the state of the network in good condition from 11% to 31% for National Classified Roads by 2012 and from 15% to 50% for the District road network.

The current status of the classified road network in Rwanda in terms of roughness (IRI m/km), as per road condition survey of 2010, reveals that the overall condition of the National Road network namely 53.8% being in good condition has already exceeded the EDPRS target of the year 2012, which is 31%. However, the District road network condition has not improved as much as the National roads. The condition of the National Paved Road Network is very good, the percentage of paved roads in Good condition, being 72.9%, far exceeding the EDPRS target of the year 2012.

The condition of unpaved roads is satisfactory, i.e. 38.3% are in good condition, well above the EDPRS target. However, only 23% of the District unpaved road network is in good condition.  It is therefore recommended to set new targets for the period of 2011 to 2017 considering the present status of both the paved and unpaved classified road network. It is equally important to devise innovative and sustainable sources of funds. Draft proposals are now available for discussion.

During the period 2008-10, a number of policy actions were  implemented, which, together with the performance with regard to the indicators on road condition, have impacted on the overall condition of the road network in Rwanda and thus contributed to the macro economic status of the country.

The Policy actions include:

1. Increase funding for road maintenance through increased Fuel Levy from RwF 21 to RwF 62. This policy action was completed and will impact on the improvement of the road condition, as more revenues will be collected from the fuel level. This is not yet enough; MININFRA is prospecting other sources to complement the fuel levy. Thus in the subsequent years, we expect more National and District classified roads will be maintained.
2. Government adoption of the road sector reform package covering the establishment of an autonomous road agency (Rwanda Transport Development Agency), which is now operational and the Road Act is under consideration by the Parliament.
3. Adopt RMF Strategic Plan: the Road Maintenance Fund strategic plan was discussed by the stakeholders of the fund.
4. Complete Periodic Maintenance of at least 240km (cum) of the 780km of National Earth Roads: About 251km are maintained periodically so far, representing more than 100% completion of this particular policy action. This will impact on the improvement of the road conditions in rural areas and facilitate trade and communication between the rural and the urban. It also improves/facilitates regional trade and communication links between Rwanda and neighbouring countries. This policy action directly determines the increase in percentage of the classified road network in good condition.
5. Complete District/Rural Road Condition Inventory: The Road condition inventory for both National and District Classified was completed. However, no data has been collected for unclassified roads. The inventory determines the real condition/status of roads in Rwanda, which will help with appropriate planning, resources allocation and execution of road works.

Challenges and Proposed Mitigation Measures

Challenge Proposed Mitigation Measure
Landlocked Economy Establishment of an integrated multimodal modal transport system by including road, rail, air and maritime transport for opening up the country
High transport cost:  Improve cross border multimodal transport system and remove non-tariff barriers as much as possible
Development of a balance maintenance practice for both paved and unpaved classified road networks Devise appropriate strategy and allocate sufficient funds for the maintenance of classified unpaved road networks
Heavy investment requirements Seek donor support, Public Private Partnership initiative and new source of revenues.
Insufficient competition for road works Encourage multinational infrastructure contractors and consultants to invest in Rwanda and develop local construction industry
Poor performance of local companies in the road sector Provide soft loan and training to local companies and adopt preferential policy measure to improve the capabilities of the local companies and to prepare a detailed programme to develop local capacity in the Construction Industry
Lack of specialized skills Train adequate manpower in transport sub-sector
Lack of Institutional Capacity Establish and strengthen Rwanda Transport Development Agency,
Weak capacity at district level to plan the district roads maintenance Provide technical support to districts; strengthen technical capacity at the district level
Lack of Data and Management Information System (MIS) tools Development Road Maintenance Management System, Fleet management and personnel management database and appropriate MIS tools
Weak coordination between donors and GoR Ensure adequate coordination between donor and GoR using Transport Sector Working Group.

Projects under implementation

In order to address the challenges identified above, the GoR has designed specific programmes and projects to develop the sub-sector to higher levels especially through  the focus on Road Transport Infrastructure and Institutional and Human Resource Capacity Building.

Under the leadership of Dr Ado Abedi, the Acting Managing Director of  Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA), the transport sector has commenced a comprehensive programme for development and maintenance of the road transport infrastructure in Rwanda. Forty-seven road maintenance and rehabilitation projects are ongoing at various levels of implementation. The key activities under this programme are as follows:

Kigali-Ruhengeri road rehabilitation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of 36 km of Kigali City Roads, Slope Rehabilitation and Pavement Rehabilitation at PK 28 on Cyangugu-Bugarama Road, Gitarama–Ngororero Road Rehabilitation, with additional works covering the rehabilitation of Gitarama urban works (Muhanga), maintenance of connecting feeder roads (73 km) including Kavumu-Rubaya-Kabaya(23 km), Ngororero-Kavumu (24.7 km) Ngororero-Satinsyi (21 km) and Buringa-Remera (21.6 km).

There are 26 road maintenance projects and 13 bridge maintenance projects. Most of the paved roads rehabilitation and maintenance projects are multi-year project. Notable among them are:

Ngororero–Mukamira, Rusizi-Mwityazo road project, Crete Congo Nil –Ntendezi road project, Kitabi- Crete Congo Nil, Kayonza-Rusumo, Kayonza-Kagitumba and Gitarama-Kibuye.

Institutional and Human Resource Capacity Building

Significant progress has been achieved during the last financial year in the domain of Institutional and Human Resource Capacity Building. Capacity building activities included short and long-term training programmes, equipment supply and technical assistance, which have been provided through projects financed by different funding agencies (AfDB, WB, and EU).

Short-term training courses have been conducted for MININFRA staff. Several modules have been finalised by BCEOM under EU support in the road sector. The programme is now ongoing.

For the Masters degree programme in Transport studies, a contract was signed between MININFRA and KIST to establish the program in 2011. The Transport sub-sector aims to train at least 150 transport professionals up to Master degree level during the period of 2011 – 2015. The first batch of students will be enrolled in June 2011. Priority will be given to staff working for public institutions in the Transport sector but also private sector.

The development of a Transport Master Plan for Rwanda is currently ongoing and is expected to be completed within 12 months. The objectives of the Strategic Transport Master Plan for Rwanda are to assess the current status of the Transport sector, collect required data, develop appropriate toolsets for the evaluation of alternative policy options, and prepare a set of strategic transport programs/schemes.

MININFRA is now negotiating on the possibility of  technical collaboration with CSIR Built Environment, a government research institution in South Africa in road pavement design, material testing and maintenance.

In order to involve roadside dwellers in routine maintenance activities, 273 roadside cooperatives have been established and trained. The cooperatives are expected to start activities soon.

The Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) Act was promulgated in January 2010. The organisation structure is now awaiting approval from the Cabinet. However, RTDA is now fully functional as a provisional organisation structure.

Development of Infrastructure for Opening up the Country

Regarding the Development of Infrastructure for opening up the Country to mitigate the landlocked status, a number of studies have either been completed or are under way. The procurement process for the detailed design study for the Isaka-Kigali-Keza-Musongati Railway line and the mobilisation of funds for the project are now ongoing.

The detailed engineering study for the new Bugesera Airport has been completed. The financial viability of the project is being assessed to allow for mobilisation of funds. Other ongoing studies include the feasibility study for the Navigability of River Akagera.

Control of Transport Costs

In order to control high transport costs, which represent 40% of the import costs for goods, a number of policy measures are being carried out. Under these initiatives, border and custom procedures have been simplified and standardised regionally. The stakeholders have been sensitised about transport facilitation. In this respect, under the “East African Trade and Transportation Facilitation Project” (EATTFP), supported by WB, several activities have been carried out:

•  East African Trade and Transportation Facilitation Strategy (EATTFS) has been developed and is currently under review by EAC member states;

• Acquisition of three Cargo Scanners for RRA has reduced transit time and procedures at the border posts, through non-intrusive cargo inspection;

• Gatuna One Stop Border Post (OSBP) has reduced transit time and procedures at the border post.

• The Electronic single window is expected to facilitate the acquisition of import and export documentation by the business community, through modern IT facilities.

• A study is to be commenced soon for establishing an axle load control system in Rwanda, taking into account EAC and Northern Corridor recommendations.

Regulation and Road Safety

A study is to be carried out to assess the effectiveness of the existing vehicle inspection system and to recommend measures to strengthen the system. In road rehabilitation projects, road safety features have been taken into account.

The Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) in the equation

An autonomous body, the RCAA was created by law in 2004 with the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). According to the RCAA Director General, Dr Richard Masozera, the Authority carries out specific functions of oversight and regulating air transport, ensuring that operators respect international norms and standards spelt out by ICAO. Rwanda being a contracting state to the Chicago Convention is bound to observe such standards and practices.

The CAA directorates include: Flight Safety, Airports, Aeronautical Navigation, Finance and Administration. The Directorate of Airports deals with the general management of airports, facilitation of baggage handling and airport infrastructure among others.

The Directorate of Flight Safety supervises the state of aircrafts to be registered and the qualifications of pilots and cabin crew whereas the Directorate of Air Navigation looks at the air traffic controls and air navigation equipment. The Finance and Administration carries out the management activities and ensure the profitability of the Authority.

Dr Masozera notes that RCAA is a resource intensive organisation that has heavily invested in new technology and equipment including a free wireless, scanners and walkthrough doors to ensure that passengers spend as little time as possible in the process of clearing cargo.

RCAA efficiency defines arrivals

The presence of wireless internet, Visa and Master Card credit card facilities as well as Western Union Services totally assuage the problem of passengers carrying huge sums of money. The restaurant facilities are available but RCAA is looking towards establishing Hotels to create accommodation facilities.

Dr Masozera, says the government has also invested heavily in the airport infrastructure such as the runway and air-field lighting so that the airport can function on a 24hr basis. Plans are underway to invest more in: The Radar Control System, Baggage handling system and Flight Information Display System. Escalators for those with physical disabilities will be put in place soon starting August 2011. More duty-free shops shall be established. 

The Ten-Year Master plan being developed by experts will define many operational instruments of the RCAA.

RwandAir has grown tremendously, leasing two aircrafts in 2010 and intending to purchase two new ones this year.

RCAA has recently signed bilateral air service agreements with The Netherlands, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Egypt. The Authority has continuous customer-care training programmes of all the personnel that operate from the Kigali International Airport—CAA, RwandAir, Emigration and Immigration, Police and other workers that offer peripheral services.

New Bugesera International Airport for more opportunities

As Rwanda is moving towards the ideals of Vision 2020 which  envisions the economy to become a service-based one, the New Bugesera International Airport will play a vital role.

Bugesera will be a full service international airport serving the interests of Rwanda, and expanding into a gateway that will link the Great Lakes region to the world. With time, it is expected to grow into the Central African transport hub.

Other than opening new employment opportunities, the project will increase the volume of arrivals—both for cargo and passengers—the majority of which are expected to be traders and tourists.

ONATRACOM: Daring where others shy from

Established by a decree in 1978, the Public Transport Company of Rwanda—ONATRACOM, has duly fulfilled its mandate of bringing out of isolation the most remote parts of the country where private transporters do not penetrate. Prior to 1994, the company was at the verge of closure but in 2001 acquired a fleet of 170 vehicles, enabling it to cover 80% of rural Rwanda.

ONATRACOM therefore effectively links remote areas to provincial towns, to the Kigali City and the region.

Currently the company has buses that transport passengers on the Kigali-Kampala route as well as Kigali-Bujumbura and plans are underway to connect with Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

According to the Director General of ONATRACOM, Mr Esdras Nkundumukiza, ONATRACOM is not profit oriented, but that has not prevented its management from turning the company around into a competitive financial entity—enabling it to pay off the debts of over RwF350million that had accumulated over time, acquiring new buses and improving the welfare of its more than 400 employees.

Plans are underway for   to modernise ONATRACOM Management and shape out a more efficient and quality public transport utility.

Focus on the water sector

Keeping you healthy and productive

Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water

RWANDA has committed to reach very ambitious targets in water supply and sanitation, with the vision to attain 100% service coverage by 2015. The importance of adequate water supply and sanitation services as drivers for social and economic development, poverty reduction and public health is fully acknowledged in Rwanda’s Water Supply and Sanitation policy and related strategies and political decisions.

The Water Sub-Sector, according to the Head of the Water Supply and Sanitation unit, Mr James Sano, is mandated to ensure that the Rwandan population gets access to clean and safe drinking water, as well as ensuring a steady water supply for industrial purposes.

“In line with the MDGs, the water sub-unit also ensures sanitation among the populace,” observes Sano, adding that it is also in tandem with the vision 2020, EDPRS and other global orientations. The sub-unit having been transferred from the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2008, with access to clean drinking water at 68% by then, has evolved to reach an access rate of 80% today, while access to hygienic sanitation has been raised from 38% to 56%.

Mr. Sano, the Water Coordinator in MININFRA, attributes this satisfactory growth to “the dedicated staff  in water projects involved in the implementation of different programmes, and of course, to the support from development partners such as the Africa Development Bank, the World Bank, USAID, the European Union, One-UN, UNICEF, the government of Japan and international NGOs.

He also says that there has been a close and harmonious working relationship with other ministries such as MINISANTE, MINEDUC, MINELA, MINICOM and MINALOC which play a big role in the sensitization of the masses at household level to construct their sanitation facilities. A much more bold approach is under preparation to shorten the completion time of 100% for decent latrines by 2012.

The sector has contributed to national development through contributing to the process of industrialization as water provides both raw material and acts as a cooler to the industrial machinery.

The sub-unit also ensured a steady supply to other amenities such as hospitals, schools, hotels and dairies. RWASCO, as a major partner in the treatment and distribution of water, has engaged the services of cooperatives in the supply of water. “Of the 800 water supply systems in the country, 30% are operated and managed by Small and Medium Enterprises that have formed cooperatives,” observes Sano.  The target is to have 100% access to clean drinking water by the year 2015.



Architectural standards for safety

Creating homes, providing  public offices

WITH the deliberate efforts of making the urban sector a definite lever of the country’s economic development, the Rwandan Government, in the last three years, has adopted a housing and National Urbanization Policy.  

The Ministry has formulated policies and instruments to promote and shape the growth of the construction industry in Rwanda, including the National Construction Industry Policy, the Building Control Regulations and the Urban Housing Policy, all of which aim to assist the development of construction standards and specifications, urban management and planning, the regulation of the industry, and increasing professionalism. 

In 2010, in order to cope better with the strong emerging urban demand, the Rwanda Housing Authority was established to work with local governments and relevant national institutions to facilitate the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the Vision 2020 goals and the EDPRS targets.  The Housing Authority is currently headed by Mr Oumar Sow, who not only has endeavoured to provide technical support for the development of the housing sector but is also specialised in Urban Management and Planning, and has played a big role in the implementation of the Rwanda Housing Authority.

The Vision 2020 envisages that 70% of the non urban population will live in -grouped settlements (Imidugudu) whereas the urban population will reach an estimated 30%. However, recent manifestations indicate that the urban population could be around 40% in 2020, 10% more than the targeted earlier. It is therefore useful to promote pro-active rather than correctional or reactive urban planning. 

The Housing and Urbanism Sector in the setting of EDPRS 2008-2012 has six specific sub-programs (the seventh subprogram is in relation with crosscutting issues such as environment and AIDS). The sub-programmes to this end are:

1.  Real estate promotion, construction and maintenance of public buildings; 
2.  Registration of land plots with all necessary statutory requirements
3.  Imidugudu promotion and development of master plans; 
4.  Support to housing financing; 
5.  Establishment of main planning, urban architectural designs and simplified plans of 30 municipalities (District towns) in Rwanda; 
6.  Improvement of informal/peripheral neighbourhoods; 
7.  Sensitization on the standards of construction and urbanism as well as the protection of urban environment
8.  Promotion of low cost and indigenous good materials and techniques for home building.

Overview on some crucial elements of the sector 

Land planning: This is an exercise under the central and some local government institutions. The plot demarcation processes are to follow the pre-established rules and norms. The net financial revenues realised on every plot should be sufficient to finance annual land property taxes. 

Building materials: The majority of accommodation units in Rwanda are constructed with raw bricks (75%) since the use of fuel-wood for baking bricks is prohibited (for ecological reasons). Other building materials such as the concrete blocks, the quick-lime and tiles have been experimented with but are yet to be popularized and made acceptable to the general public.

Accommodation Units: Planned housing construction has been initiated in Rwanda to cater for the middle class and upper-end buyers. There is a need, however, to establish a real-estate policy that caters for the lower section of population.

The Housing Bank and Social Security Fund of Rwanda have been of great value in enhancing proper accommodation, but because of the overwhelming needs, the accommodation shortage in Kigali City and elsewhere does persist.  The building cost of an accommodation unit is estimated at an average of RwF25, 000/m² for the traditional, RwF35, 000/m² for the semi-traditional and RwF37,000/m² for a modern housing unit. A traditional type accommodation of 80m² (which is necessary for a family of 5 people) would cost about RwF2, 000,000 cfa, almost 95 times the monthly median salary.

Housing Evolution 

Urbanism is a generally new phenomenon in the Rwandan landscape. At the end of the colonial period, two types of habitat were clearly identified; the pre-colonial habitat predominant to the countryside and the urban habitat.

The Rwandan Government, since December 1996, has adopted a National Housing Policy of   grouped settlements in rural areas (Imidugudu) in order to encourage the development of growth poles. Spontaneously developed areas in urban centers have been restructured in order to improve the life conditions of the population. Due to this situation, many strategic secondary towns or balance poles that permitted to redefine the national urban armature in Rwanda have been set. 


Currently, the urbanisation ratio to the total population stands at 16.89%, roughly 1,372,913 inhabitants, with the growth rate in the region of 9% per anum. This situation corresponds to the doubling of the urban population every ten years.

Grouped villages (imidugudu) 

From 1995 until 2010, more than 300,000 houses have been built mainly in the framework of resettlement program.

Objectives, strategies and programs 

The global objective of setting up the housing and urbanization policies is to ensure the organization and improvement of the present system of human establishments for a lasting socioeconomic development.  

The specific objectives are : 
• To master and orient the urbanization process of the country 
• To attend to the whole urban population needs  in terms of grounds and equipments,
• To improve the life conditions of the populations living in the unstable existing areas.  
• To reinforce institutional and financial capacities of  local governments 
• The recommended strategies are:
• Orient rural-urban migrations toward the balance poles 
• The promotion of economic and social development of urban centers  
• The setting up, at the local level, the land and town planning policies aiming to answer to the real demand; 
• The following programs will be achieved in the period 2010 to 2017: 
• Support to the urban planning  
• This will permit the realization of guiding designs, specific design plans and other planning (such as the urbanism simplified plans) and management tools adapted to the immediate needs of districts. So far, eight have been completed and seven are underway and fifteen to be tackled in 2012.

2. Collection of the basic urban data
This activity aims at collecting basic urban data as undertaken by MININFRA in 2007.  

3. Production - and Implementation of Master Plans 
Support will be given to the local governments to allow them produce Master Plans  to give way for more deliberate, well-designed town plans.

4. Restructuring of the precarious areas 
Areal restructuring operations have already been implemented in the Western Province towns and will be rolled out elsewhere in the country. 

5. Standards, legal and regulatory framework
This program has begun with the adoption of the” Rwanda Building Control Regulation” set in 2010. The regulations aim at elaboration and adoption of a legal and regulatory framework, protecting the rights of tenants and of expropriated households and streamlining the adoption of contexts applicable in urban environment of the organic Law on land

They are also intended to revise urban building standards by the adoption of the urbanism and building code (sites building, parcels dimensions, alignments, etc.) and the building code (accommodation size, usable materials, etc.), connection to amnesties, ICT, and implementation of disabled people facilities

6. Technical capacity development
The Capacity development program will serve to trigger the urban policy implementation and will act as fundamental response to the human resource needs in the sub-sector. MININFRA will continue to finance training of staff and operators in the sector.

Focus on meteorology sector

Exploiting nature to defeat necessity

Observing the atmosphere to enable services and activities

THE first meteorological observations in Rwanda started with rainfall observations in 1906. Observations of rainfall and temperature were established in the 1930s. The Rwanda Meteorological Service was created in 1963 and in 1968 Rwanda Meteorological Services was established as a Division in the Directorate General of Aeronautics as a professional/scientific service to promote the understanding of meteorology and its applications. However, the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi destroyed more than 80% of the meteorological infrastructure.

With a Vision of being a Meteorological Service that is highly efficient and effective, customer and employee focused and a Mission of providing accurate, timely weather and climate information and products for the welfare of the Republic of Rwanda, the Meteorological department carries a number of functions.

Scope of the Rwanda Meteorological Services

• The desired services outcomes are addressed by three top-level objectives, namely:
• To produce more accurate, timely and reliable forecasts and warnings on weather, climate, water and related environmental elements;
• To improve the delivery of weather, climate, water and related environmental information and services to the public, governments and other users;
• To provide scientific and technical expertise and advice in support of policy- and decision-making and implementation of the agreed international development goals and multilateral agreements.

These top-level objectives are achieved through a series of initiatives which emphasize five strategic thrusts: science and technology development and implementation; service delivery; capacity-building; partnerships; and efficient management and good governance.  Expectations associated with each of these initiatives (see below) define a set of expected results and associated performance indicators, which form the basis for the development of the Rwanda Meteorological Services Operating Plan, the Rwanda Meteorological Services results-based budget and the performance monitoring and evaluation measures.

So, the successful use of the above mentioned Plan will contribute to: Improved protection of life, livelihoods and property,  Improved health and well-being of citizens, Increased safety on land, at sea and in the air, Sustained economic growth in the country, Protection of other natural resources and Improved environmental quality.

Weather and  climate information provide useful inputs to sectors such as agriculture, livestock development, food security, road, air and maritime transport, health and public, safety, tourism, building and construction industry, disaster management and water resources management.

The support the meteorological service provides to various sectors is becoming more important due to the challenges of climate variability and change. It aims to provide better and more accurate weather and climate predictions in support of sustainable development, issues which are crucial to the delivery of services to end-users. These range from adequacy of infrastructure for observational network, efficient telecommunications systems, data processing and forecasting systems as well dissemination systems.

The main objectives of Rwanda meteorological Service are:

•  Ensure availability and continuity of national climate records for use by present and future generations
• Provide information on the climate and weather of Rwanda and the region, including associated benefits
• Contribute effectively to national goals through the development and provision of meteorological and related services.
•  Meet Rwanda’s international obligations and advance national interests regionally and internationally.
• Provide accurate and timely weather information and meteorological products for the general welfare of the citizens of the Republic of Rwanda
•  Have a Meteorological Service that is customer focused, highly efficient, and motivated
Performance through the times

Rwanda Meteorological services include: issuing and disseminating weather forecasts, advisories and warnings, seasonal weather and climate prediction. These services contribute to operations of various sectors but not limited to:

a) Public Weather Services (PWS)

Public Weather Services aims at meeting the needs of the community to access comprehensive weather and related services, with particular emphasis on public safety and social and economic welfare.

Weather forecasts and warnings to the public are disseminated through various mass media channels including daily newspapers, radio, television stations and through the Internet.  In order for this service to be useful to the appropriate community it is delivered to the targeted audience in time and frequently.

Agriculture Sector

Seasonal weather and climate forecasts and information provided to agricultural stakeholders in Rwanda, have a significant role in early warning for agriculture production and food security. The weather and climate forecasts are used for planning of agricultural activities and operations.

b) Natural Disaster Management

More than 80% of all hazards affecting Rwanda are weather and climate related.   A range of these hazards often translate into natural disasters. These disasters include droughts, severe storms, floods and landslides.

The Meteorological sector contributes to averting disasters by providing weather forecasts, advice and warnings which are important for early disaster warnings, preparedness, rescue and mitigation.

a) Health Sector

The outbreak and spread of epidemic diseases such as malaria and cholera depend on weather and climate conditions. Meteorological information and forecasts are therefore important to enable the health sector to deal with these diseases effectively.

b) Transport Sector

RMS provides data and information to the transport sector. Air, water and surface modes of transport utilize weather information for safety operations.

RMS is the designated authority for provision of Meteorological services to international air navigation in Rwanda. The data and information are used for pre-flight planning, take off and landing, and en-route flight planning to enhance safety, efficiency and regularity of air transport.

It also provides weather forecasts to enhance safety and efficiency of marine operations and transport, fishing and oil exploration. 

RMS also provides weather forecasts and climate data which contribute to the operations and development of the road transport network and airports in the country.

c) Energy Sector

Meteorological information and services contribute to the assessment and planning of hydroelectric power generation, distribution and consumption. The location and operation of wind and solar power stations require meteorological information.

d) Water Resources

Weather and climate data assists in the assessment and management of water resources for human consumption, power generation and irrigation.

Climate Variability, Change and Environment Management

Extreme weather conditions and climate change result into disasters which seriously affect the nation in terms of human life, property and the environment. There is discernible evidence that there is climate change which has mainly been caused by human activities. The RMS participates in scientific assessment of climate change and continuously monitors weather and climate extremes. The monitoring and forecasting of these events is necessary for early warning so that mitigation and adaptation measures can be taken.

Defence operations

The National Meteorology Service provides weather information for military aviation, military operations (navy, infantry), and training of military personnel in weather forecasting.

c) Construction Industry

The meteorological sector provides weather and climate information for planning, design and construction of buildings, roads, bridges, airports (runways), dams and other structures.

d) Tourism and Wildlife Management

Weather and climate information is provided for planning and scheduling of tourism activities. Meteorological data and information is availed for assessing availability of water, pastures for wildlife, best periods for recreation and photography.                                       

Challenges and stop-gap measures as well as long term solutions

The Meteorological Sector in Rwanda is challenged by high demand for accurate, timely and quality information, services and other meteorological products.


Climate change and its impacts through effective monitoring and assessment require to be adequately addressed.

Increased competition brought by globalisation, calling for a greater need to improve services provided and co-operation with similar institutions in the region.

Inadequate capacity to meet the increasing community needs and expectations on meteorological information and advisories.

Insufficient capacity to take advantage of scientific and technological developments.

Lack of quality certification of meteorological services is not yet in place.

Current Programmes under implementation

a) Applied Meteorology

An important function of a National Meteorological Service is in application and provision of non real-time services. These entail generating, packaging and applying weather and climate information for various uses.

(b) Climatology

This provides the tools for analysis and packaging of weather and climate information. Homogeneity tests, consistency checks, basic and advanced statistical analysis form the basis of climatological data processing and inference formulation. Archiving of all national meteorological observational data is an important component of a climatological section.

(c) Agro-meteorology

Agriculture in Rwanda is mainly rain-fed and is therefore susceptible to variability of weather and climate. Rainfall amount and its distribution in time and space are critical factors that consequently affect the national economy. Excellent efforts are being made in Rwanda via the National Early Warning Project to improve the monitoring of weather and crop conditions.  A major and critical input to the system’s success is the weather data and services provided by Rwanda Meteorological Service and the need for close collaboration with the Early Warning Project and the MINAGRI. Weather information is also very important for crop risk insurance.

(d) Hydrometeorology

Management of water resources is one of the most critical issues facing Rwanda. Daily and seasonal weather forecasts assist in the assessment and management of water resources for consumption, hydropower generation and irrigation. Useful meteorological information for this sector includes rainfall amount and intensity, evaporation rate, temperature and meteorological information for flood forecasting.

What the future holds

Cost recovery is a relatively new concept in the provision of meteorological services. It is essentially a nonprofit payment by a customer of meteorological product or service made in order to offset expenses incurred in the provision of the service. The recovered costs are meant to be ploughed back directly into the service providing institution for service improvement. Although relatively new, in some aspects it is gaining popularity of both the provider and receiver of services due to the guarantees of efficiency, effectiveness and quality services.

RMS is in process of restructuring and will change its status to a semi autonomous government body (Agency). A Performance Management System ((PMS) including Results Based Management System (RBMS) is being established for service improvement. 

RMS will soon acquire a weather radar for improved weather surveillance and more accurate forecasting, rainfall estimation and wind shear  location which are very important for the safety of aviation.

Development projects are under implementation for improving the infrastructure and operations of RMS on Data processing and Forecasting, Network expansion, Human resources development (professional training, TDCF, Strategic Planning and budge

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