At least 1000 families are planning to relocate from a slum in Rwanda’s capital as construction starts on a controversial city plan that aims to turn Kigali into Africa’s Singapore.
According to Bruno Rangira, a spokesman from the city authority, the plan includes about a housing estate that has all the infrastructure … roads, public lighting, sewage management treatment system, a school, public center and a market.
Residents will be moved out of Kangondo slum, which is nestled between high-end residential areas in northern Kigali. The area is popularly known as Bannyahe, meaning “Where are the toilets?” in the Kinyarwanda language, as people have to share pit latrines.
Africa has the fastest growing cities in the world, with 40 percent of its one billion people in towns and cities. But a lack of urban planning means sprawling slums are mushrooming alongside expensive housing and luxury flats.
Their shacks will be replaced with new buildings in line with urban planning regulations.
Rangira said the relocation plan has faced resistance from landlords who want cash compensation instead but assured locals that the city is working within the law.
Other critics say the government is unfairly dispossessing people of their properties because the new houses are in a less central location where it is harder to find work.
“People who own houses there stand to lose more than tenants who can easily move elsewhere,” said Vincent Manirakiza, an urban planning expert with the University of Rwanda, who argues that it is more pro-poor to upgrade informal settlements.
Rwanda has ambitions to be a tech savy logistics hub mirroring Singapore that has boasted years of solid economic growth
The authorities have pledged that the city’s numerous informal settlements, where the majority of residents live, will be a thing of the past by 2040 and Kigali’s population is equally expected to almost triple to about 3million people by 2030.