17 October 2018

Rwanda: Senators to Probe Unplanned Settlements

The Senate Committee on Economic Affairs is set to embark on a community outreach tour to investigate issues of land use and settlements in order to better inform budget prioritisation and implementation of the Habitat master plan.

The activity is expected to start Monday next week.

The upcoming tour was announced on Monday when a group of senators met with the Ministry of Infrastructure and its affiliated agencies to get preliminary data with which to benchmark for the outreach.

Under the 7-year (2017/2024) National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), the government plans to have relocated 10,209 families living in high risk zones while over 205,488 families will be facilitated to move out of slums.

It also seeks to boost the number of formal settlements from 55, 8 per cent in 2014(EICV4) to 80 per cent.

The chairperson of the committee, Jacqueline Muhongayire, said their preliminary survey in Kigali and some secondary cities revealed that there are still a lot of issues regarding compliance of city master plans.

"People in Kigali are still building houses anywhere and anyhow, especially in the rural parts of the city. And one just wonders how it keeps going on. We want to understand the reasons behind," she said.

The Minister of Infrastructure, Amb. Claver Gatete, said that they were aware of existing gaps resulting from past master plans and pledged to strengthen things up through more rational and sustainable planning.

"For example, we are collecting data on all existing slums in the City of Kigali while also holding discussions with various partners to see how they can be moved to formal settlements without having to move them from their respective lands," he said.

The exercise started with Kimisagara slums where people were successfully settled in apartments and it shall continue in other parts of the city as well.

Amb. Gatete added that the ministry looked forward to collaborate with the Senate's outreach team to be able to use the information for more effective implementations of city master plans.

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