By Thomas Kagera
Sustainable urbanization process transforms the quality of livelihoods and promotes skills development and decent employment opportunities in both urban and rural areas especially for youth and women. The Government of Rwanda therefore has put due emphasis on the formulation of a National Urban Policy that reiterates the role of cities and towns in national development. Capacity building of policy makers and key players involved in the urbanization process has been carried out, with sustainable programmes piloted in selected intermediate cities together with programmes aimed at upgrading informal settlements.
MININFRA has intensified efforts geared towards ensuring managed increase in urbanization through development of secondary cities. High on the list is having sites serviced and basic infrastructure put in place in secondary cities (Huye, Musanze, Rubavyu, Nyagatare). This entails developing detailed layout plans of the selected cities’ infrastructure.
Plot servicing was done in 6 secondary cities where 49.3 Km of roads were constructed and developed programs to develop a methodology that supports secondary cities to increase density, improve public spaces and streets; develop a densification strategy for all Secondary Cities as well as build capacity of local city leaders for good commissioning and local experts to own, modify and implement their urban strategies.
Plot servicing works in secondary cities was initiated and is ongoing. It is in line with implementation of Master Plans especially to avoid creation of new informal settlements, making it possible to avail basic infrastructures like access roads, separating plots and availing passage for water, electricity and drainage.
Maintenance and upgrading
Refurbishment works were completed for tri-ministerial building accommodating MINALOC, MININTER, MIFOTRA and Migration offices. The parliamentary building was also rehabilitated.
The completion of Kigali Convention Center (KCC) that hosted the African Union Summit was among the key achievement registered in the year 2015/16, a facility that will greatly enhance the promotion of Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions in the country.
Before hosting the CHAN, 4 stadiums were upgrade, namely; Amahoro, Umuganda, Huye and Nyamirambo.
Enhanced rural settlements that facilitate access to basic services are being established including the development of model villages in Huye and Muhanga.
Informal Settlements upgrading activities were piloted in two Secondary Cities (Huye and Musanze) whereby roads were improved and public lighting put in place, including one site (Agatare) in City of Kigali located in Nyarugenge Sector. This project will be extended throughout this 2016/17.
Besides, Integrated Development Programme model villages were developed in 4 secondary cities (Muhanga, Huye, Rubavu and Rusizi), and 1 in Rweru with 104 dwelling Units while 30 Integrated Development Programme Model villages are planned to be constructed, one in each district during FisicalYear 2016/17.
Another outcome encompasses the broad goals of well-coordinated urban, rural settlement development planning, green urban growth and an innovative construction sector. The use of local building raw materials is being promoted in four selected districts (Huye, Bugesera, Rulindo and Rubavu).
One Stop Centres at the district level are to be supported under this broad target which will entails training of staff (including on GIS and inspection tools); and creating a manual, using modules, to help build the capacity of the centre staff.
The above have called for coordination as defined through a framework to ensure the implementation of the Master Plan. Activities include providing technical support to directors and implementers (district and government institutions etc).
A total of 60,136 Households (HHs) living in scattered settlements & high risk zones were relocated including 104 Households relocated from Mazane and Shalita Islands of Lake Rweru.
The Rwanda government under EDPRS II, has an ambitious plan to develop affordable housing units for middle class. The visible implementation of this plan can be seen in the construction and real estate sector boom across the country. As a result, there are more opportunities for the private sector to invest in every level of construction towards achieving the stated target of 35% urbanization by 2018. The existing housing policy, and urbanization policy and the construction policy all serve to lay the foundation for this planned expansion.
For affordable housing 257.5 ha (in City of Kigali and Secondary cities) were opened for investors to develop. More than 3600 units are planned to be constructed in collaboration with private investors in Batsinda, Rugarama, Ndera, Abadahigwa, Kabuga
Inspection and compliance with construction and housing standards four (4) periodic inspections are planned annually to ascertain conformity and compliance.
The Rwanda Housing Authority working with the City of Kigali and MININFRA has developed affordable housing and finance options which encompass; designating twenty hectares of land for affordable housing; completing the servicing of 128 dwelling unit plots and beginning the construction works; and implementing the housing policy.
Construction of Bweyeye border post (currently at 64%); Construction of Commercial High Court; Construction of Administrative Office Complex; Construction of National archives, Rwempasha border post are some of the ongoing projects.