BY GODEFREY NTAGUNGIRA
Kigali City as Rwanda’s capital is set to be transformed into one of the most modern metropolitan locations in Africa in tandem with the country’s ambition to be a hub of the region. City planners are upbeat that retaining the city’s attractive attributes such as concern for environment will seamlessly dovetail with future aspirations of the country.
As such the city has developed a master plan which is currently one of the most elaborate city and or urban planning endeavour by any local authority within the East African Community. The Kigali City master plan is thus a brilliant response of providing Rwanda’s capital city with its future dispensation.
Consequently the master plan is now considered a road map for actualizing the planned and aspired transformation. The Kigali Conceptual Master Plan is based on research and analysis of a wide range of background conditions and technical aspects outlined in the existing conditions report.
The report considered environmental, land use, infrastructural, cultural, and socioeconomic factors as well as economic and demographic projections, opportunities and constraints for the urban development.
Cleanliness of the City
Kigali city is now more famous for its remarkable cleanliness and social discipline order than anything else. Many visitors who have a chance to visit and stay in Kigali are impressed by the progress the city has achieved in such a short period of time given the devastation it endured during the 1994 Genocide.
The cleanliness of Kigali is being attributed to two good reasons. One is the prohibition on the use of polythene bags which have proved to be a nuisance in many cities especially within the EAC.
The other is the regular countrywide communal cleaning exercises that are held every last Saturday of every month.
Opportunities in real estate development
The housing industry in Kigali is still very fragmented. This in itself presents investors with unlimited opportunities within real estate.Planned settlement comprises a meager 7%, whereas the remaining 93% is catered to by spontaneous settlements.
Consequently the city master plan approved by the cabinet in 2008 has developed detailed plans for investors to come up with projects in planned settlement within lower Muhima, Nyarugenge, and Kimihurura gateway, Kimicanga and Kinyinya and Akamunigo covering a total area of 288ha.
Another crucial element of the city planning is that in Kigali city, district land commissions are already in place to ensure prompt and efficient service delivery in terms of providing land and building permits to those who need them.
A technical commission to approve the architectural designs for big building projects in the city has been established.
Kigali City has its target of being a state of the art and aesthetically appealing city having sustainable infrastructure that includes roads, street lighting, good and reliable drainage systems as well as green spaces and city parks.
The responsibility for road construction and design lies with the Public Infrastructure Unit in the City of Kigali and road standards lies within the Directorate of Roads in MININFRA.
While there are a number of internationally acceptable standards for roads, bridges, and pathways that could be adopted, there is also a need to provide protocol for modifying provisions to incorporate native materials acceptable Rwandan road construction practices, e.g. stone pavements.
For this reason, a minimum set of design and maintenance standards for paved, gravel, and unpaved roads, bridges, viaducts, and culverts should not be quickly adopted.
2. Drainage systems
The drainage system in Kigali has a total distance of 102.800 km and this comprises of 96.193km that is not constructed and the remaining being constructed but still has a lot to be desired.
3. Street lights
Generally the priority areas for street lighting (Airport area, administrative areas, and commercial areas) in the city are well lit up. Many of the new constructed roads do not have street lighting. Traffic lights are still being repaired but needs periodic maintenance.
4. Green Spaces and City Parks
As far as green spaces are concerned Kigali City having a concept which suggests we are custodians of our important Green Spaces and valued areas so that they can be enjoyed by future generations. Whilst doing so it is vital that we provide the framework to satisfy the needs of the current generation, if Kigali is to continue to thrive as a City.
Social facilities such as schools, hospitals, shelter and recreational centres are being stretched by the ever increasing city population, these calls for a proportionate increase of these amenities. In 2008, 118 primary classrooms were constructed bringing down pupil class ration to 56 from 59 in 2007.
In secondary schools 17 class rooms were constructed reducing the student classroom ratio by one from 46 in 2007 to45 in 2008.
4,134 primary school pupils and teachers accessed computers under one laptop per child program in 2008.
In health sector, the city’s 854,485 people out of 1,024,423 residents of Kigali have access to health insurance of one form or other. Recently 96,360 houses out of 103,532 were sprayed with mosquito killing spray.
Kigali city management understands social services as going beyond schools and hospitals and addressing needs of marginal groups such as orphans and street children. During the course of 2008, 359 houses for needy people were constructed superseding the set target of 300.
386 child headed families were connected to guardians and 280 street children were taken off the streets and integrated into children centres.
Good Governance and Security
As far as security is concerned, Kigali is actually a much safer and stable place than most African cities.
In 2008 out of 18,560 Gacaca cases, 20, 613, judgements were passed equivalent which represents an achievement of 99%. Elections for members of parliament, the chamber of deputies were organised and 54, 0585 eligible voters cast their votes ranking Kigali a leader across the country with highest turn up rate of 99.2%