For a country the size of Rwanda, land is a very precious commodity. It becomes even more priceless when over 90% of its population depend on agriculture.
As the city expands, more land is needed for development projects, therefore today’s subsistence farmers will find themselves compelled to relocate elsewhere. And they need financial means to do so.
People expropriated in Kinyinya as far back as two years ago have been waiting for their payment in vain. Some are not even allowed to farm on their land as they wait for their money, and no one seems to have a solution for their plight.
Gasabo Mayor has put a moratorium on expropriations until — so she says — land already released is exploited. But the key problem could be something else; speculators.
While the housing boom has been one of the key factors in the nation’s growth, it has also brought rise to land speculators who should be the ones in the Mayor of Gasabo’s cross-hairs.
People invest in prime land with the hope that someone with a genuine project will cough up a handsome profit in exchange. Others have genuine plans for their plots but they lack finances.
City authorities could solve this issue if they put their mind to it; using the stick-and-carrot tactic. They could put in place financial services which could help weed out fake investors.
Bona fide people would rush to get a piece of the pie, but the Shylocks would shy away, inventing excuses.
That is when the City could pounce, give them a deadline to have started work on the plot, and if they fail to beat it, repossess.