real estate developers, especially those engaged in construction of affordable houses, should help people from expropriated land to own homes. The call was made by Minister of Defense James Kabarebe.
The Minister urged developers to come with initiatives that can make it possible for expropriated landowners to buy houses. Such initiatives, he added, could help solve problems like development of slums.
The minister was speaking at the launch of 32 affordable houses built by Abadahigwa ku Ntego Limited, a subsidiary company of Kigali Veterans Co-operative Society (KVCS), in Gako, Masaka sector in Kicukiro District, last week.
The four-in-one three bedroom houses go for Rwf18 million each and are in a fully-serviced estate.
“You should come up with a formula whereby the people from expropriated land are given the opportunity of acquiring or building their own houses on the same land, but in accordance with the City Master Plan,” Kabarebe said.
Kabarebe advised the veterans and the firm’s managers to remain focused and avoid conflicts, mismanagement and other vices that might affect their association and its development goals.
According to Willy Rukundo, the managing director of Abadahigwa ku Ntego, the firm was able to reduce the cost of the houses, thanks to government support channeled through Rwanda Housing Authority. The support helped the developer to connect the estate to electricity, water, sewage, road networks, and other essential facilities to ensure decent and modern living, he added.
As a result, the price for the houses that was previously at Rwf25 million per unit, is now Rwf18 million. Rukundo said they would unveil another batch of 24 houses (of the same size) next month. The first phase of the project cast Rwf5 billion.
Speaking at the event, Kicukiro District mayor Dr Jeanne Nyirahabimana, said providing affordable housing is one of the targets under the government’s development blueprint, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II), to ensure all citizens live in habitable and secure dwellings.
Parfait Busabizwa, the vice-mayor in charge of economic development at the City of Kigali, said the city population is projected to increase from 1.2 million people to four million inhabitants by 2040.
“Therefore, this requires more investment in real estate development and other facilities to cater for this growth in population and the resultant pressure on services, sewage and water systems. This can be achieved through cooperating with the partners like Rwanda Housing Authority, Ministry of Infrastructure and private sector stakeholders,” he said.
Busabizwa said more affordable housing projects would be developed in every district in Kigali, adding that they have so far built 10 houses that cost Rwf10 million each in every district targeting the ‘lowest-income’ earners among the population.
Peter Rwambala, the chief risk officer at Development Bank of Rwanda, urged developers to always carry out market studies to meet client expectations.
Joyce Mukagashugi, one of the residents of the estate, lauded the veterans group for supporting government efforts by ensuring poor Rwandans get decent homes.
“These houses are pocket-friendly…You can’t find such affordable and well-built houses elsewhere within Kigali City,” Mukagashugi said.