The Minister for Infrastructure has invited more real estate firms to invest in affordable housing to meet the demand for shelter that is projected at 310,000 housing units by 2032.
Claver Gatete made the call during the launch of construction of 3,000 dwelling units in Nyamirambo Sector in Nyarugenge District, under Rugarama Park Estate.
The project is a joint venture between Development Bank of Rwanda and Shelter Afrique, a pan African housing finance institution.
Gatete said the project will help meet the 217,000 units needed in the country.
BRD chief executive Eric Rutabana speaks at the event in Nyamirambo on June 3, 2019
The houses will be built by two developers, namely Remote Group that will construct about 2,000 housing units on 30 hectares.
The other section of the estate will constitute over 800 housing units and will be developed by another contractor called Girinzu, these will be built on 12 hectares.
Infrastructure Minister Claver Gatete delivers his his remarks at the launch of 2000 affordable housing units in Rugarama, Nyamirambo on June 3, 2019. Craish Bahizi
"We anticipate close to 3,000 homes of different types in a period of one year," he said.
The entire project is expected to cost over $50 million.
The affordable housing units under Rugarama Park Estate project will, among others, offer a one-bedroom studio starting at Rwf12 million.
Other categories include larger private townhouses with front and back gardens starting at Rwf23 million and a convertible 4-bedroom unit starting at Rwf35 million.
The estate targets first-time homeowners within the income bracket of Rwf200,000 and Rwf900,000 per month.
The estate will have green open spaces, a sports facility as well as commercial centre earmarked for shops and restaurants.
According to the developers, construction costs were mitigated after Remote Group invested $15 million in locally manufacturing environmentally friendly building materials called Autoclaved Aerated Concrete.
"The technology just needs cement, sand, water and lime, most of which are locally sourced. Remote Group is opening a factory to produce the materials, which means it is made in Rwanda and can be used for other affordable housing projects. The main idea is to cut the cost as much as possible," said Minister Gatete.
He said that the Government of Rwanda committed to give land and infrastructure, which is 30 per cent of the entire cost.
"We have to work together so that we scale and get another plan and have more, like over 10,000 homes, so that we scale up with that technology that can make houses affordable," he said.
Gatete said that the current affordable houses are not big enough since they do not even make up 5 per cent of the needed houses.
In Kigali city alone, there is a shortage of over 30,000 dwelling units out of 31,279 units needed every year, according to studies.
He said that a strategy is needed to ensure clients are attracted to buy the houses.
"We are happy that a fund has been established with over $150 million already mobilised and we will continue mobilising so that those in affordable category can get loans to buy houses. We need to work together to close the gap in affordable houses," he said.
Eric Rutabana, the BRD's Chief Executive Officer, said that they are mulling charging 11 per cent interest rate, lower than the existing ones adding that a client can pay back in over a period of 20 years.
Andrew Chimphondah, the Managing Director of Shelter Afrique said they preferred to invest in Rwanda after considering many factors.
"Rwanda is a special place for Shelter Afrique, to invest because of its good governance and generally with shortage of 51 million housing units in Africa," he said.
Officials said that every year, government will put aside land to be availed to those willing to develop affordable housing.
For instance, according to Claude Mutuyimana, the executive secretary of the City of Kigali, the city this year earmarked 10 hectares for investors in the sector.