Rwanda’s urbanisation plan, which guarantees organised growth should serve as an example to other developing nations, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos, has said.
Clos, who was in the country to attend the just-concluded second international tripartite conference on sustainable Urbanisation in Kigali, said this yesterday shortly after meeting with President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro.
The four-day conference, jointly organised by the European Commission and UN-Habitat, attracted 38 ministers from Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean states.
“We want to thank the President for his commitment to urban development. Developing countries are now faced with urbanisation problems and we would like to showcase the example of Kigali and the commitment of the country’s leadership towards organised urbanisation,” Clos said.
“The policy of Rwanda is in the right direction because it presents this idea of developing intermediate cities as a way to distribute urbanisation over the land instead of concentrating it in a single place. We have seen how when there is no such ambition, everybody goes to the centre of the city and thus generate additional problems.”
Clos, however, added that Rwanda’s government must strive even harder to curb the challenges that come with rapid urbanisation
4.8 per cent speed
The Minister for Infrastructure, Prof Silas Lwakabamba, expressed commitment to working with UN-Habitat in addressing urbanisation challenges.
“The urbanisation of Rwanda is moving fast at a rate of 4.8 per cent per annum, while in the City of Kigali it is even faster at a rate of 9 percent. So we have to find the solution and we are working very well with UN Habitat in this respect,” Lwakabamba said.
The conference in Kigali follows the first international tripartite conference on urbanisation for Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific that was hosted in Nairobi in June 2009.
This year’s conference revolved around the theme; “Slum upgrading and community empowerment.”
UN-Habitat warns that unless responses to urbanisation challenges are pursued, the number of people living in slums, lacking access to basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, healthcare and education, might triple from one billion presently to three billion by 2050.