A four-year project to upgrade informal settlements in Nyarugenge District in Kigali is meant to minimise recurrent eviction of dwellers.
It will begin with three cells in Nyarugenge Sector–Biryogo, Agatare and Rwampara–that are said to host more than 83 per cent of the over 26,000 residents of Nyarugenge Sector.
The area is part of what is widely known as Nyamirambo suburb.
Abbias Philippe Mumuhire, the City of Kigali’s Neighbourhood and Housing Architect, said the project, expected to start by 2016 was an initiative of the City of Kigali and Rwanda Housing Authority.
“The selected areas are mostly informal settlements. The project will help upgrade them by setting up basic infrastructure such as water and electricity,” he told The New Times.
“This will also help us avoid recurrent relocations and eventually enable us to deal with the high housing demand in the city. For them to be able to refurbish their houses, negotiations with financial institutions for micro loans are underway. They will also be the first to be employed while setting up infrastructure for them so they can benefit from the project from the beginning,” Mumuhire explained.
The project will be funded by the World Bank, that committed to inject US$10m of the $18m required, while the rest will be provided by the government, according to Mumuhire.
A feasibility study revealed that about 400 families will be affected and will need to relocate, which requires an additional $6m, to compensate them.
Residents welcome initiative
Canisius Gakwaya, a resident of Agatare Cell, said the project would improve their living conditions.
“It is not easy for slum dwellers to think about refurbishment as we always fear possible eviction. But this is reassuring,” he noted.
Jean Paul Bizimungu, a resident of Rwampara, said he looked forward to earning more from tenants.
“Tenants used to pay for several months and even for a year, but they no longer pay for more than two months fearing that we could be evicted anytime. With this assurance I hope tenants will be able to pay rent for several months, which I believe will help me to develop.”
Jumapili Habimana of Biryogo, whose house is set to be demolished to pave way for road construction, said he has no complaints and would use compensation to get another plot.
“I was born and raised in Biryogo. I was always worried about relocation. Now that we are allowed to stay I will use the compensation to get another place around,” he said.
According to a study done by the city in 2012, the city needed to build about 31,000 units annually, while 344,068 units would be required by 2020.
The present housing needs is around 250,000 units with only 100,000 units meeting housing standards, 90 000 are in need of renovation, while the rest need to be redeveloped.