Recognizing that the country's future development faces uncertainties as the population grows and climate change impacts result in increased demand on land for urbanization and pressure on resources (water, energy, food); the Government of Rwanda has started to implement the National Strategy for Climate Change and Low Carbon Development.
This was revealed during a project knowledge and closure workshop that was organized by REMA-the National Designated Authority for GCF, in collaboration with GGGI-the project delivery partner alongside MININFRA/RHA as urbanization and city development regulating authorities.
The one day workshop that took place on 11th July 2019 at the Kigali Convention Center brought together members from GGGI, REMA, MINIFRA, Rwanda Housing Authority, Private Sector Federation and all the stakeholders involved in implementing Green Cities Development Project.
The project knowledge and closure workshop intended to communicate the results and share lessons learnt from the project implementation with the Government of Rwanda officials, development partners and stakeholders working closely in the urbanization and built environment.
The main objectives was to communicate the knowledge acquired, and lessons learnt from implementing the GCF readiness project, highlighting the needs of the NDA and NCT, and to introduce the green growth and climate resilient project concepts based on the revised master plans of the secondary cities.
Participants take a group photo during the workshop
The Government of Rwanda (GoR) embraced the positive side of urbanization and established an ambitious objective of accelerating urbanization to achieve an urban population of 35% by 2024 with six Secondary Cities identified as poles of economic growth.
This urbanization target is linked to the achievement of socio-economic development targets like increased access to sanitation facilities, clean water, electricity and increasing the real gross domestic product.
The review and update of the secondary cities detailed physical city master plans and identification of green growth and climate resilient projects to support thriving and sustainable urban economies are among the interventions towards achieving these ambitious targets.
While giving his welcome remarks, Mr Faustin Munyazikwiye ,Deputy Director General for Rwanda environment Management Authority (REMA) , said the institution was happy to be part of those sharing the knowledge of the project outcome because when it started, the project had various objectives and today they are here to testify to these outcomes.
Participants who attended the workshop
"I would like to thank all the key players who participated in the implementation of this project in order for it to be a success. It is important that we have reached the implementation phase and this is why our government has made the building of secondary cities a priority with a target of reaching 35% of urbanization by 2024" he said
He added that when the project first started Rwanda was among the first countries in Africa to access readiness resources from Green Climate Fund in spite of the limited capacity at the time.
While giving her presentation, Ms. Liliane Uwanziga Mupende GGGI Senior Green Cities Development Consultant said that the Secondary Cities of Rwanda were established not only to transform the economic geography of the country, but also to counter urban sprawl and pressure on peri-urban land of the Capital City of Kigali.
"The Secondary Cities were selected based on their strategic location, growth trends, unique assets, and potential to become regional economic development hubs. These cities are seen by the Government as catalysts to realizing Rwanda's ambitious goals and upcoming vibrant well-functioning cities, with strong economic linkages to surrounding regions, fostering regional clusters of industries that will drive Rwanda's future prosperity" said Mupende.
While speaking to the media, Ms. Inhee Chung Country Representative GGGI Rwanda said that from the policy and strategy, for the last three years they have been focusing on the green urbanization process initially with MINIFRA and later with REMA, RHA and MINALOC and now they have the strategy developed.
"We are happy to share these outcomes of the work done so far on the project. We have done this together with the Government partners, related ministries and reaching out to the six secondary city districts and the next step is concrete implementation. So once we have all the actors on the same page, the next step is to see how we can galvanize each of our efforts and resources to achieve our goal" said Chung
Currently, the Secondary Cities represent about 27% of the country's urban population and 4.4% of the national population. They sit within districts that have much larger rural populations and which are still mainly dependent on farming to provide livelihoods and support the local economy.