Rwanda: Construction of Kigali's Green City Delayed to 2023

24 September 2021

Construction of a model green city in Kinyinya sector, Gasabo District is expected to start in 2023, officials have said, following a prolonged bleak outlook.

Construction kick off on the 620-hectare centre had been slated for January 2020 subject to the approval of its architectural designs that was expected to be done in December the previous year.

However, proprietors are way behind schedule on a project - which is anticipated to be environmentally friendly, affordable and socially equitable, and with a culturally sensitive urban touch.

Now, Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA), the lead institution in the $4 to $5 billion project, says a detailed design is expected to be complete by early 2030.

With plans for 30,000 housing units to accommodate 150,000 people, officials say that the project will create at least 16,000 jobs.

The project has two phases

The first is a pilot phase where some 410 houses with multiple green aspects will be constructed on 13 hectares.

Under the second phase, green affordable houses will be set up on 125 hectares, followed by the construction of commercial as well as office buildings to accommodate innovative green businesses.

If implemented, this will be the first green urban centre in Rwanda with a mixture of green infrastructure including residential houses, office space and industry use and public amenities.

It is being designed with systems to prevent environmental degradation and air pollution, and plans are underway to replicate it in secondary cities.

"The project will integrate green buildings and designs, efficient and renewable energy and inclusive living," Teddy Mugabo, the Chief Executive of FONERWA, said.

The proprietors are yet to secure a contractor, but Mugabo disclosed that a tender to hire a construction firm to undertake the project will be published once the final design is out.

She explained that what is completed now are the feasibility studies which analysed the situation at Kinyinya Hill, adding, "soon a firm will be contracted to develop the detailed design."

Will residents be expropriated?

Resettlement plans are being developed, Mugabo said, emphasising that no expropriations will be carried out.

"One of the aims of the project is to create a mixed housing neighbourhood that is inclusive," she said. "This is mainly why we are mobilising additional resources to upgrade the already settled Ngaruyinka village. The upgrade will focus on greening the public infrastructure of this village."

According to Jean Baptiste Nsengiyumva, a Senior Research Fellow at Institute of Policy Analysis and Research-Rwanda (IPAR-Rwanda), in order to make such a city inclusive, decisions for unplanned settlements should include dwellers' views.

"Master plans should be inclusive. Inclusiveness is needed because low income earners are needed in the labour force. Having a city of only high and middle class people is not a good decision," he said.

Urbanisation, he said, requires urban governance - a process by which the government with stakeholders and citizens jointly decide on how to plan, finance and manage urban areas.

"It requires research, studies to know the current status, challenges, and burning issues that people need to be addressed," he said, adding that some people are not aware of new master plans for their areas.

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