Rwanda: Kigali Named Among Top 50 Cities With Innovative Responses to Covid-19

Kigali has been named among the 50 finalist cities in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, a global innovation competition that identifies and accelerates the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

These 50 urban innovations rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 630 applications from 99 countries, in the first-ever Global Mayors Challenge.

The 50 champion cities submitted ideas addressing four of the most significant challenges borne of the pandemic: economic recovery and inclusive growth, health and wellbeing, climate and environment, and good governance and equality.

Kigali proposed to adopt proven rainwater-harvesting technologies in informal communities, presenting an idea of on-site housing redevelopment and infrastructure upgrading strategy to improve living conditions in informal settlements, making good use of rainwater, reducing dependency on commercial water, and curbing flooding.

The city also pitched an idea of introducing a smart waste system that includes segregation at source and a central collection area with smart bins that alert collection companies about fill-levels.

After being named among the 50 finalists, Kigali now advances to the four-month champion phase of the competition.

From June through October, the 50 finalist cities will refine their ideas with technical assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies and its network of leading innovation experts.

Fifteen of the 50 cities will win the grand prize, with each receiving $1 million and robust multi-year technical assistance to implement and scale their ideas.

"These 50 finalists are showing the world that in the face of the pandemic's enormous challenges, cities are rising to meet them with bold, innovative, and ambitious ideas," said Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

"By helping these cities test their ideas over the coming months, we will have a chance to identify cutting-edge policies and programs that can allow cities to rebuild in ways that make them stronger and healthier, and more equal and more just," he added.

Pudence Rubingisa, the Mayor of the City of Kigali said:

"We are very excited to be one of the winners of the Mayors' Challenge and we look forward to working with Bloomberg on a project that offers a full package to upgrade informal settlements," he said.

"Beyond the provision of decent housing, our project addresses other factors that negatively affect the living conditions of residents of informal settlements.

It aims to enhance the city's informal settlements upgrading policy by proposing a Nature-Based Solution and Smart Waste Collection services for a safer, cleaner, and more inclusive urban environment," he added.

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