Rwanda: Kigali Receives Multi-Billion Funding Boost for Flood Control

Parliament has approved €6 million (Over Rwf7 billion) financing from Nordic Development Fund (NDF) to control floods and construct drainages in Kigali City.

Under the financing arrangement, €4 million is a loan while €2 million is a grant. The 31-year loan will attract an interest rate of 0.75 per cent with a grace period of six years.

Claudine Uwera, the Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning, said the funding aims to transform Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro into more climate-resilient districts.

She made the disclosure as she defended the funding before the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, July 21.

Various studies have shown that Kigali's population, which is among the fastest-growing in Africa, is increasingly exerting pressure on wetlands leading to the loss of biodiversity.

This, the Minister noted, has triggered the loss of capacity to retain surface runoff water and control floods.

"That is why the government needs financing to cope with the situation," she noted.

In addition to restoring wetlands and degraded land, authorities are keen on turning Kigali into a sustainable and green city by planting trees as well as building infrastructure that can adapt to climate change.

"The financing aims to conserve Rwampara wetland catchment and reduce floods," she said.

The 60-hectare Rwampara wetland, which is among the catchments of flood-prone Nyabugogo area is located in Nyarugenge District.

Among the activities being planned include rehabilitating water drainages that cause landslides, building drainages to reduce landslides and floods, the Minister told Parliament.

Others include building pedestrian pathways and passages towards wetlands, creating flood retention ponds as well as planting trees and other vegetation.

The new funding, she noted, follows the Second Rwanda Urban Development Project. The World Bank-funded project aims to strengthen urban planning and management in Kigali and the six secondary cities of Rwanda.

The new funding will also ease Kigali's Rwf30 billion financial deficit for rehabilitating and expanding several drainages that usually cause flooding.

Over 40 drainages need rehabilitation and expansion in Kigali City.

MPs react

MP Phoebe Kanyange requested the government to ensure the funding helps to end flooding in Nyabugogo area, especially the bus terminal.

"During the rainy season water Nyabarongo and Nyabugogo rivers overflow and destroy infrastructure in Kigali," she said

According to studies, every year small businesses in this area lose up to Rwf178.2 million annually due to floods.

MP Germaine Mukabalisa urged Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) to fast-track the implementation of the project in order to avoid losses caused by delays.

"There are two projects that are implemented by REMA which the Auditor General showed were not executed on time," he said, adding "These delays create a risk where the funder can take back the money or charge penalties,

"We have to make sure this new project is executed as planned to avoid losses to the government."

Kigali central sewage system delays

MPs Leonard Ndagijimana and Damien Nyabyenda asked about the progress of the long-awaited Kigali central sewage.

Minister Uwera said that the government is in the process of hiring a contractor for this project.

The project was estimated to cost over Rwf83 billion but has been delayed owing to the lack of competent bidders.

The first phase of the project will cover the Central Business District (CBD), Muhima and Kiyovu. The wastewater treatment plant will have the capacity to treat liquid wastes estimated at 12,000 cubic metres per day.

Meanwhile, Uwera disclosed that the government had also mobilised an extra €10 million to control floods in other areas of the city apart from Rwampala.

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