Strong coordination and effective governance are essential to ensure proper planning and financing to foster urban development, researchers have said.
According to Dr Aime Tsinda, the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research Rwanda (IPAR Rwanda) acting director for research, proper governance and coordination help to avoid challenges that arise from urbanisation. He added that these principles also support enforcement of regulations and promote the needs of the stakeholders including the poor and other disadvantaged groups.
All stakeholders and government agencies must work together to ensure proper land management and use as well as guide infrastructure, agriculture, community and private sector development.
“Besides, by involving all stakeholders in the urbanisation process, you avoid enactment of conflicting policies say, for agricultural land use and housing,” Tsinda explained.
He was speaking during the first “Utafiti Sera” (Research-Policy Community) stakeholders’ forum on urban governance and city transformation in Rwanda.
The forum is part of a one-year project that seeks to inform public policy-making in regional cities of Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia by facilitating their interaction with researchers. It also seeks to promote use of research-based knowledge in policy-making and management of urban authorities by identifying gaps that trigger poor management of cities.
Funded by the Hewlett Foundation, the project will be implemented by IPAR Rwanda in collaboration with African Social and Governance Research.
Dr Tsinda said low capacity and lack of social protection programmes for communities affect implementation of urbanisation policies. He called for effective ways that foster development of modern mass public transport and promotion of sustainable housing models for urban and rural areas.
Rwanda’s urbanisation is expected to grow from 17.3 per cent to 35 per cent by 2020, and Tsinda said the private sector is crucial in this process “because they provide jobs, services and required infrastructures, among others”.
Edouard Kyazze, the manager for urbanisation, human settlement and housing development at the Ministry of Infrastructure, urged service providers and infrastructure developers to always consider needs of people with disabilities and communities and how these developments would affect them.
“We can only be able to achieve inclusive urbanisation by working together.” He called for innovative ways to increase internal revenue generation to fund projects.
Urban authorities speak out
Pierre Claver Bagirishya, the executive secretary of Musanze District, said bad governance is one of the challenges affecting implementation of master plans in secondary cities.
“These plans are sometimes not respected due to different reasons, including bad governance where some people are promoting their own interests,” he said.
He added that some secondary cities face budget constraints because they undertake many projects at the same time without a clear source of funding.
Priscah Mutesi, the Rusizi District corporate services manager, said secondary cities lack long-term solutions for waste management, and called for collaboration among local leaders and residents, as well as industrial and health sector players, among others to address the problem.