Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi has said an urban resilience is among the government’s top priorities as the nation works toward achieving a middle income status by 2020.
The premier was speaking at the opening of a forum organised by the City of Kigali and 100 Resilient Cities initiative that was pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, in Kigali, yesterday.
The forum, dubbed “Resilience Agenda Workshop,” marked the beginning of a process of developing a comprehensive resilience plan that will enable the city to better survive, adapt, and grow despite any chronic stresses and acute shocks.
It brought together stakeholders across the City of Kigali, central government, private sector, development partners and civic society into the planning process.
Kigali was among the 67 cities globally (one of the six in Africa) selected by the 100 Resilient Cities initiative.
Premier Murekezi said urban resilience was mandatory for all cities across the world that had a vision of becoming centre of excellence.
He noted that the city, guided by the Kigali City master plan, had already began making efforts to the effect such as infrastructure development, upgrading informal settlements into affordable housing among other social services.
“Cooperation with the 100 Resilient Cities programme of the Rockefeller Foundation will speed up the actualisation of the goal. The partnership will contribute greatly to Rwanda attaining a middle income status by 2020,” Murekezi said.
Promising maximum cooperation for citizens and leadership, Murekezi said government was upbeat about being a member of the global initiative.
Kigali is set to receive necessary resources to develop a roadmap to resilience such as financial and logistical, expert support for development of a robust resilience strategy and connections to solutions and service providers.
Michael Berkowitz, the president of 100 Resilient Cities initiative, said Kigali had been selected to participate in the initiative after exhibiting progressive characteristics such as planning, social cohesion, environmental protection and committed leadership.
“Kigali is growing and developing at a fast rate and has exhibited desirable characteristics. City governments are on the front line of dealing with acute shocks and chronic stress. The City of Kigali is helping fuel global momentum around building urban resilience. Kigali’s commitment to resilience thinking, planning and action will set a global example,” Berkowitz said.
He said the two-year partnership would enable the City to cushion itself against acute and chronic stresses and build response systems.
The Mayor of the City of Kigali, Fidele Ndayisaba, called on city stakeholders to give their input on ways to further build a resilience metropolis.
He said Kigali had begun building resilience mechanisms following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, making it a part of the city’s agenda.
Ndayisaba noted that among the mistakes often made by developing cities was unplanned development which Kigali hoped to steer away from.
“It is an opportunity for us to be part of the worldwide network that seeks to develop more resilient cities,” Ndayisaba said.