RUTSIRO DISTRICT: Unlocking potentials, improving livelihoods

Rutsiro is among seven districts making up Western Province, located 150km from Kigali. The district shares borders with Nyabihu and Rubavu districts in the North, Karongi district in the south, Ngororero in East and Lake Kivu that separates Rwanda with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)in west.

PHOTO: Rutsiro District office that is under construction.

Rutsiro is among seven districts making up Western Province, located 150km from Kigali. The district shares borders with Nyabihu and Rubavu districts in the North, Karongi district in the south, Ngororero in East and Lake Kivu that separates Rwanda with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)in west.


The surface area of the district is 1,157.3km2, with  altitude trict varying  between 1,400 meters at the edge of Lake Kivu and 2,600 meters beyond the top of Mount Crete Congo-Nile.

Kitchen garden established

The 4th Population and Housing Census of 2012 shows that Rutsiro district is  home to  more than 300,000 people, 47.4% of them are male and 52.6% are female with 57.2% of whole population  under 19 years, whereas 34.2 are between 20-49; and from 50 and above 85 constitute  8.7%.


Rutsiro district has a tropical climate with an  average temperature of between 20 ° and 24 ° C. Rainfall increases gradually as the district approaches the mountain range of Congo-Nile covered by Gishwati forest.

The district experiences passes through four seasons of the year; namely small rainy season that runs from September to December, the short dry season that runs from December to March, the long rain season that runs from the end of March to the end of June, and the long dry season that runs from the end of June to September.

However, on the other side the district experiences some irregularities like excess rainfall that sometimes causes homes and environmental destruction.

Houses constructed for needy genocide survivors

Rutsiro district is divided into thirteen sectors namely: Boneza, Gihango, Kigeyo, Kivumu, Manihira, Mukura, Murunda, Musasa, Mashonyi, Mushubati, Nyabirasi, Ruhango and Rusebeya.  It is also divided into sixty two cells, and four hundred and eighty three villages.


As agriculture is the main economic activity in Rutsiro, the district targeted to improve post-harvest handling and increase add value addition for export crops.

The district constructed a greenhouse for Irish potatoes seedling multiplication in Nyabirasi sector.

They targeted to increase production of green and parchment coffee by facilitating farmers to access pesticides and fertilizers. The district  also enhanced follow ups for good maintenance of coffee plantation and set strategies for production measurement.

Health post

The district targeted to produce 450tonnes of dry tea by facilitating farmers to access pesticides, fertilisers and application, follow up on  good maintenance of tea plantation and setting strategies for production measurement; these measures resulted in  increased production  of 413.955 tonnes of dry tea.

Below is a table that shows agriculture development and land consolidation in year 2015-2016






  • Maize:
  • Beans
  • Wheat: 1,594ha:
  • Irish potatoes:










13502 ha


14244 ha






The above productivity was attained through different measures like sensitizing farmers on land consolidation; organizing and strengthening Twigire Muhinzi Group, supporting farmers to get agricultural inputs on time and organizing agriculture seasonal meetings.

The district also targeted to dig progress  terraces on 712 ha and radical terraces on 495ha. A variety of these hectares were coming to complement 12908ha in progress and 2609 ha in creation.

Farms of wheat

In animal resources, the district has increased the productivity by inseminating 1875 cows from 11,167 and vaccinated 32,013 cows against from LSD& BQ.


Roads and Hotels

Rutsiro is a district with  poor infrastructures and located quite far from the tarmac road which, in a way,  hampers  development.

Every year the district plan to run the development of infrastructures, as roads, markets, health centers and health posts, classrooms, electricity and water connection among others.

Under the long run project the district is working to implement the Rutsiro city master plan in succession with increasing grouped  settlements through  villages’ master plans.

The district authorities  are working to increase basic infrastructures in all villages in the district; then to advance the development of cities.

The district targeted  to relocate 3.5% of households from scattered settlements (Support to land acquisition, Sites servicing and Support to acquisition of local construction material) which  was completed at 87.4%.

Also developed were IDP Model Villages in Ngando/Kivumu,Terimbere /Mukura of which the construction of four in one & two in one houses in Ngando and Terimbere was well done at 100%.

In 2015-2016 performance contracts, the district targeted to rehabilitate murrum roads of 67km of which 4Km Gisiza-Murunda hospital road, 15km Kabona-Mberi, 7km kinini- Mubuga,5km Mukebera-Bugina, 7km Koko-Musasa, 5km Trinite-Nyamwenda, 8km Gatare-Bwiza, 6kmKarongi-Nyabishongo and 10km Gakeri-kabitovu. 63.5km which on average was implemented to cover 94.5% of the target. They were too targeting to rehabilitate Rukoko-Mwendo murrum road of 17 km and construction of 16 bridges, 40 gutters, 22 gullies and 8 retaining walls in Gihango, Rusebeya, Kivumu and Mukura sectors; the target was completed to 92%.

Above these murrum and feeder roads that the district constructs every year in all sectors of the district, Rutsiro is soon to get a tarmac road Karongi-Rutsiro-Rubavu.


The construction of the road is underway and is expected to be complemented by the end of 2017.

The 70.6km road linking Karongi, Rutsiro and Rubavu districts in the Western Province, whose construction was  pledged by His Excellency President Paul Kagame is expected to ease market access and bring more investors in Rutsiro district as it passes near Kivu Lake; there is a hope to attract investors who will construct hotels there.

In an exclusive interview with The New Times' Emerence Ayinkamiye, the mayor of Rutsiro district said that local entrepreneurs used to leave  the district by seeking  for areas that can easily be accessible. 

She said that the road will open doors for different investors and entrepreneurs as some companies have started to register for applying licenses to work in the district.

“It was difficult for our people to go in neighboring districts as Karongi and Rubavu. Transport in this district was most frustrated with the bad road network, but as we talk there is a transportation  company that has applied toshuttle on this road after its completion” she explained.

She added that the district has no hotel, but after the kickoff of construction of tarmac road, some investors have started to construct guest houses and there is a hope for hotels in the near future.

Some investors have started buying plots at  the shores of Lake Kivu to build hotels and  lodges for visitors. To back  them the district is planning to construct clear roads that will reach the place.

The district has also targeted to complete the construction of Rutsiro District Guest House phase III. The ongoing construction was covered at 55% and they are working to finish it not later than this year.

The district has nine coffee factories and one tea factory, it is constructing honey manufacturing factory.

The district does not have enough market, but in cooperation with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), they are constructing Nkora Market which is being upgraded  to  international level.

Electricity and water

In Rutsiro district, 17% of  households have access to electricity as per the statistics for  2015-2016 fiscal year. During the  same period the district targeted to connect 3300 households and 2640 households were connected a target that was achieved at 80%.

The same year, the whole district had 150 bio-gas digesters  and targeted to install and operationalize 84 domestic biogas facilities.  72 biogaz were constructed, a target achieved at 85.7%.

In 2015-2016, the district targeted to improve10,500 ceramic stoves installed to new households 8100 of them headed by women and 2400 by men.

Electricity in Rutsiro district

A total of 10786 ceramic stoves were installed,  100% target achievement.

At the beginning of 2015-2016 fiscal year Rutsiro residents who had access to clean water were  55,950  covering  68.2%. The  district targeted to increase  4.6 % to the existing number by Constructing new water supply lines and maintaining of existing water supply lines. This target left new 3600 households accessing clean water.

Economic development and social welfare

The economic development of Rutsiro district relies on two main activities; agriculture and animal resources.

The main crops for Rutsiro District are maize, beans, Irish potatoes, banana and cassava.

In the high temperature sectors of; Mushubati, Gihanga, Musasa, Boneza, Mushonyi, Kigeyo and Kivumu around Lake Kivu,  they is  abundant supply of staple food crops of  bananas, beans, maize and pineapples while coffee is the major cash crop.

In the humid sectors of Mukura, Rusebeya, Manihira, Murunda, Ruhango and Nyabirasi where the altitude is high they grow wheat, beans, Irish potatoes and passion fruits. Coffee is, too,  the major cash crop. Rutsiro residents also earn  from animal resources. They  rear cows, goats, sheep, pigs, fish, rabbits and chicken.

Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey 4 (EICV 4) indicated that 51.4% of population in the district are poor, among them 23.6% are in extreme poverty making it the three poorest districts in the country.

To implement Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy  (EDPRS 2) the district has organized an effective design of the fifth District Development Plan (DDP 5) of 2013-2018. This approach aims at addressing challenges to welfare and development.  It is also an approach that contains strategies of implementing the district plans.

By doing this, they refer to the government vision, people’s perceptions, level of achievements of the previous DDP 2008-2012 and different opportunities in the district.

For implementing the District Development Plan, every year the district sets an agenda of activities of the whole year and performance contracts based on that set of activities.

Potentialities of Rutsiro District

The district activities depend on need to ensure proper use of the available resources , increase the productivity and good conservation of the environment.

People in community work

The assessment carried out in November 2012 by the Local Administrative Entities (LODA) shows that Rutsiro district has economic opportunities that should be tapped into. These include:

The shores of Kivu Lake are seen as a major potential, and forty one islands would help to promote tourism.

The 4th national park of Mukura and Manihira is located  in Rutsiro district.

There are 26 touristic sites

Rain and dry seasons that can help residents to cultivate different crops in the whole year

Rain and dry season that can help the district to promote animal resources.

Gishwati-Mukura national park that has biodiversity that can help to promote tourism and apiculture.

Rivers can be exploited in electricity energy.

Construction of optic fiber

The road Rusizi-Karongi-Rubavu that is under construction.

Above these opportunities of the district, Rutsiro residents are aware of their role in the development process.

Social welfare

For ensuring social welfare of its population, Rutsiro district has conducted different activities that would help improve welfare of its residents.  In line with this programme the district targeted to build eight houses for the very needy genocide survivors which was achieved at 100%. 

In joint action plan to eliminate malnutrition in the district, they targeted to train households to establish and rehabilitate kitchen gardens and to provide 56,564 liters of milk to children of less than five years.

This target resulted in construction of 9,253 new kitchen gardens and 5,578 rehabilitated and distribution of 54,257 liters of milk to children of less than five years.

By supporting vulnerable groups for self‐ sustainability and reliance, and strengthening linkages between core social protection and complementary  programs, the district targeted to employ 6,500 persons (4000 women and 2500 men) under the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program, Ubudehe and in construction projects.

Through VUP, the target was to employ  6 ,710 people (3 571 women and 3139 men) in the construction of radical terraces, road maintenance among others.

The district targeted to distribute 900 cows to poor families which was surpassed as  1,137 cows were distributed.


In promoting education in the district, officials have taken different measures for ensuring improved quality learning outcomes across primary and secondary levels.

The district targeted to reduce school dropouts by  9.7%, lower secondary, 10% and upper level 0.8%.

The parent-teacher associations were strengthened, regular schools inspection and implementing school feeding programs have also been carried out and  achieved them both primary and ordinary level at 100% whereas advanced level achieved at 80%.

For ensuring good reading environment the district targeted build 15 new classrooms under the  12year basic education; five library rooms; nine pre-primary classrooms, 36 latrines for girls and 20 for boys

Over this target 29 classrooms were  constructed and toilets at 100%.


By improving access and use of quality health, the district  targeted to cover 100% of the population under mutuelle de santé which was achieved at 74.2%. So  234,800 out of 316,538 people are insured.

The district also targeted to construct Karumbi Maternity and Remera Health Post where the former  is at finishing phase, completed  at 95%, and the health post completed at 100%.

Governance and justice

For ensuring good governance and justice in the district, Rutsiro has strengthened institutions and their performance.

Construction of Rutsiro district administrative office is underway and the second construction phase has been completed. It will help delivering  services from a single center. To strengthen the values of good governance, residents’  complaints are addressed during the Governance Month through governance clinics. The result  is that 909 out of 932 complaints were resolved, achieving  97.5%.

By ensuring equitable justice Rutsiro district has targeted to conclude 100% of court judgments execution.

After producing a list of concluded court judgments, scheduling, set and implementing strategies in execution, 354 out of 363 concluded judgments were executed, a 98% achievement.

By promoting cultural values and norms through civic education, the district organizes “Ndi Umunyarwanda” dialogues at Village level,  Cell level, Sector level, and in schools and health centers.

The work executed during Umuganda is valued at Rwf513,818,955 and the participation is currently at 86.2%.


Although the district has worked a lot to improve livelihoods  of its population, it is still challenged with limited income as mayor Ayinkamiye explained.

She said that the budget for the district is still insufficient and the investment sector is still dragging behind.

She added that the district faces another challenge of natural disasters including landslides, mass wasting and lightening.

The district is has  one hospital,  Murunda,  and expert doctors in the district are not available.  

She appeals to the government to support the budget for  improving health care, constructing and renovating classrooms for education development; and constructing a vibrant Congo-Nil City.

The district requires better infrastructures including  markets, roads and I.C.T facilities.

Farmers, too, need support in getting improved seeds of Irish potatoes and maize.

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