Thomas Malthus predicted that the population of the earth was increasing at a geometric rate, while food production was increasing only at an arithmetic rate. He predicted that human population would soon outstrip their own ability to produce food, and there would be a catastrophe by the mid-nineteenth century.
However, we are still here, so that obviously did not happen. Even though Malthus was wrong, his ideas remain influential. The carrying capacity of the earth at present is a hotly contested subject.
Many believe that we are at or near our capacity already. Coming back home, the population of Kigali city has climbed to over one million people. Currently, the urban demographic mass is concentrated in the city of Kigali.
Since independence, urban planning and development were not given much attention. Kigali city contributed to an increase in the urban population (from 236,000 people in 1991 to 1000,000 people in 2010; this resulted in a concentration of the urban population in the Capital.
The biggest challenge is developing a city, which was initially not planned. It was only in 2009 that the city got its first master plan. The key issue is; how many people can Kigali city sustain. As the world counts down to 7 billion, is Kigali safe?
Alphonse Nizeyimana, the Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs says the solution is, “the implementation of the city master plan and following it will provide answers to all the planning and development issues that Kigali is yet to face.”
Kigali City leadership unveiled the Kigali Master Plan, “the framework on which the development of Kigali City shall be based for the next 30 to 50 years.
The plan is a significant project as it outlines a vision and an implementable framework centered on sustainable, holistic and locally based solutions.
Responding to how many people Kigali city uphold, Nizeyimana admitted that today the city shelters over one million people and it is projected that in 20 years to come, the city’s population will climb to two million people.
“Basing on the current trend of population growth, Kigali can contain the current population and in the future basing on the plans in place. I still believe the city will be able to contain the population,” Nizeyimana says.
Adding that, it was KCC’s objective to ensure that in the future, Kigali’s population is compatible with the sustainability of the city’s economy, environment and communities.
He also noted that demand for infrastructure is highly contingent upon the demographics of the population, the location of population growth, available technology, and the manner in which households choose to live and work.
“Something encouraging on the ground in Kigali today is that you can actually point out several construction sites that follow the plan. Everyone has an opportunity and a responsibility to make a world of 7 billion a better place for all of us,” he says.
The Vice Mayor says, “we have integrated environmental, social and economic factors to provide current and future generations with the opportunity to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.”