All thirty districts of the country will have an urban community settlement, commonly known as ‘model village,’ by the end of the next financial year.
The project will be implemented under the rural settlement policy, requiring residents living in rural areas to live in well planned settlements.
The Integrated Development Programme (IDP model village) was initiated in 2010 to promote proper human settlement in rural areas.
Augustin Kampayana, the head of human settlement and development at Rwanda Housing Authority, told Saturday Times that the Rweru model village in Bugesera District that accommodates residents relocated from Mazane and Shalita islands will be replicated across the country.
Inaugurated in July by President Kagame, Rweru model village is connected to electricity, water, has a modern market, a school and a 12-kilometre road network connecting it between Kagasa to Batima.
“We have identified settlement sites where villages will be constructed and designs are being made. By the end of the next fiscal year, each district will be having a model village,” Kampayana said.
“Those living in high risk zones and scattered settlements will be considered first.”
Rwanda is developing rapidly and needs to align its development with organised settlement, development experts say.
In view of this, the Government has set targets to have 70 per cent of Rwandans residing in rural model villages and 35 percent living in urban areas by 2020.
Kampayana said the target is on track.
“We have a policy on human settlement that guides us to implement the development of housing settlement in urban and rural areas. The policy aims at relocating people living in high risk zones or scattered settlements to urban areas or villages in rural areas for easy provision of services,” he said.
“At the end of the first Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (2012), we were at 17.2 per cent in urban and 55.8 per cent in rural settlement. We are doing all we can to achieve the set goals by 2020.”
Although there is no official evaluation conducted so far, Kampayana estimates that organised rural settlement is now at 60 per cent and 20 per cent in urban.
Presently, each province has a model village equipped with basic facilities, butKampayana said these will be upgraded.
The pillars of IDP model villages include roads, four in one houses that maximise land with durable construction materials, water, electricity, market, school, cowsheds and playgrounds.
In 2014, an estimated 48,000 people lived in high risk zones and many of them have been relocated with less than 8,000 remaining, according to Kampayana.
To meet the target of urban settlement, Government established six secondary cities to complement Kigali.
The secondary cities – Rubavu and Rusizi in the west, Muhanga and Huye in the south, Nyagatare in the east and Musanze in the north – are meant to attract people to settle there instead of all thinking about the capital.
Kampayana said the Government is lobbying the private sector to take part in development of secondary cities.
“The secondary cities are a year old. We are encouraging the private sector to engage in the programme. We are also establishing pull factors such as schools, hospitals and markets so that people settle in these cities,” he said, adding that master plans for the cities will be revised this year.
The settlement programme is facing different challenges, including mindset change for some people who are reluctant to relocate and budgetary constraints, according to officials.
According to Kampayana, an estimated Rwf90 billion is needed for the implementation of the model villages project.
He said the figure is prohibitive but that the Government will partner with the private sector.
“It is not easy to get the money. The districts’ budget is not enough. But we will partner with the private sector, the civil society to mobilise resources so that by the end of this fiscal year, we will have achieved 80 per cent of the implementation,” he said.
Kampayana called for concerted efforts to achieve the target.
“This is not a one-man business; it requires joint effort,” he said