After independence, the new Rwandan republic decided to turn Kigali into the capital.
Between 1962 and 1984, the population grew rapidly and Kigali expanded.
Today Kigali City has come of age. It made phenomenal strides, and not only survived, but prevailed and grew into a modern metropolis.
It’s the heart of the emerging Rwandan economy and a pride of every citizen.
In 1906 Germany appointed Dr. Richard Kandt as the first imperial resident governor for Rwanda.
He chose Nyarugenge hill as the site of the capital because of its central location in the country. His residence, which also served as office, was situated near the present Gakinjiro market where the whole of Rwanda was administered from.
In 1907, administration of Rwanda, was declared independent. The following year, the administrative centre for Rwanda happened to be in Kigali.
By 1909, only around 20 shops had been built. On the present site of Nyarugenge market and were mainly owned by Indian traders.
A military camp was also put up at the site where the Kigali central prison is found today.
Kigali eventually developed into a significant commercial centre because of its central position.
It became a transit centre for commercial activities between Bukoba and Kigoma (in Tanganyika, now Tanzania) via Bujumbura and also between Kisangani in DRC and Kampala in Uganda.
This development attracted many Arab and Indian traders to move from Nyanza, where the King’s palace was, to Kigali. But after the Second World War, the Belgians maintained Kigali as the administrative centre for the whole country.
Kigali International Airport is a gateway to the rest of the region.
Kigali is situated in the natural region called Bwanacyambwe within the proximity of the Nyabugogo river basin, between Mount Kigali and Mount Jali.
Originally the city occupied the hills of Nyarugenge and Nyamirambo, which covered an area of about 200 hectares at the time of independence.
Today, the city stretches from the centre: towards the east, covering the hills Kacyiru, Kimihurura, Nyarutarama, Remera and Kanombe.
South bound over the slopes of Mount Rebero, Gikondo, and Kicukiro. Towards the west over the slopes of mount Kigali, on slopes of Kabusunzu hills and Kimisagara.
Finally, to the North, it reaches the slopes of Mount Jali and the hills of Gisozi and Gaculiro.
Butare was initially the leading contender to be the capital of the new independent Rwanda, but Kigali was chosen. Mt Kigali was the site of the royal residence.
Courtiers and civil servants, priests and diviners and healers, artists and artisans, as well as farmers and herders lived there, surrounded by temples, sacred groves, holy springs, wells, pools and ritual river crossings.
Thus Kigali was not just an administrative and sociopolitical capital, but a vast network of energy collection and distribution points.
Kigali has grown from a population of 6000 people in 1962 (when Rwanda gained its independence) to approximately 1 million inhabitants today.
The city got a master plan designed and based on research and analysis of a wide range of background conditions and technical aspects which is expected to pave way for both local and international investors.
Kigali leadership plans to create a city that is a symbol of the Rwandan culture and that serves as an example for modern Africa.
A livable community that supports a sense of belonging, cooperation and healing and a model of environmental, social, and economic sustainability.