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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Kigali City Masterplan 2050


    Kigali City is a rapidly evolving urban Centre that requires an updated Master Plan to ensure that the city has the capacity to meet changing demands of its citizens. The Kigali City masterplan was approved and gazetted in October 2013, and after 5years, there was a necessity to review and update it as recommended. The core objective of this assignment was to update the 2013 Kigali Master Plan with a new methodological approach based on two key elements among others:  Better understand existing conditions and citizen’s needs, changing population demographics, the need to provide quality services and decent housing conditions to the citizens, and to take into account citizen’s aspiration for economic development;  An intense participatory process aimed at deeply involving a large base of stakeholders, capable of providing valued inputs and feedback during the review process;  Support this review with new and enhanced information and data coming from additional studies. This represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve the existing Master Plan with new primary and secondary data coming from detailed socio‐economic analysis, household and market surveys, and a long‐needed citywide transport plan and modeling. The revised Master Plan is projected to 2050 and will guide the growth and development of Kigali for the next 30 years. However, this being a dynamic document that has to respond to the ever changing social-economic dynamics, it will be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure that the Master Plan grows as we all grow. The most important aspect of the Kigali Master Plan is to provide a road map for Kigali’s future growth. The Masterplan guides changes in the City over the long term and gives physical form to its strategic vision and values. The Kigali City master planning process has provided the City tools to anticipate changes and pre-empt the solutions. The resulting master plan enables the City to make informed decisions about how the government’s economic resources need to be utilized ensuring the development and growth best serve the City’s population. It is estimated that in 2018 Kigali has a population of 1.5million which is projected to grow to a 3.8million in 2050.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The project started with a Kickoff meeting in July 2018. Following the Kickoff meeting, we started off with Context Analysis and we analyzed the Land size making up the City of Kigali, the administrative structure, the population of Kigali City as of 2018 (approx. 1.5m), the average household size (5.18 as per EICV 4), the employment provision as of 2018 (0.6m jobs) and finally the gross density in Kigali (2051 p/sqkm). It was in this context that was to be the basis for all our next assignments. Projecting it to 2050 would later give us new dynamics and the new context that we would look to achieve in the next 30 years. The resulting report from this exercise was the Inception Report. From this stage, we went to the Visioning and Programming process. Here we were redefining the new Vision of the City of Kigali and the new goals of the Master Plan. The previous Vision of the Master Plan was to be “The Center of Urban Excellency in Africa”. We found the need to review the vision of Kigali to match the current city development and needs of the city in striving for continuous progression and improvement. A new vision is proposed in the Master Plan review based on a consensus of the stakeholders and local authorities. This new vision expresses its unique local identity and succinctly represents the aspirations and sense of ownership of Kigali city by its citizens to be an inclusive city for all. The new Vision of the Master Plan which was reached after a vigorous consultative process is “Kigali Yacu! Our Kigali! The new Vision resonates so well with all stakeholders and the general public alike with the fact that it is in both Kinyarwanda and English setting the tone for inclusivity from the word go. In view of this, we structured the development goals of the Master Plan around eight themes that are in line with the overall national strategy, and that resonate with the four National Urban Planning pillars (Coordination, Densification, Conviviality, and Economic Growth). These themes which are the new goals of the Revised Master Plan are listed below: 1. City of Excellence 2. City on The Move 3. Efficient City 4. Green City 5. City at Work 6. Creative City 7. City for Citizens 8. City of Integrated Neighborhoods These 8 goals are the bedrock of the entire master plan. They form the spine of all approaches and interventions that will be considered in the implementation of this plan. The methodology that was used in the review process was one that allowed all people to contribute as much as they could. We based on Secondary data that we gathered from different Institutions of government and partners, Primary data that we gathered from the ground like the 3900 household interviews that we conducted. We did a Commercial real estate survey to understand the performance of the commercial real estate market and predict future demand, we did a housing marked survey, we did traffic modeling on all key junctions and main corridors. But in addition to this, we set up a very participatory approach of data collection and analysis. For example at the Institutional level, we established a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that was composed of senior government officials like Director Generals and Division Managers. It was also composed of experts from partner institutions, NGOs, CSO’s and the private sector. TAG was composed of 29 members and their objective was to advise the Consultant during the entire process and to be focal persons at their respective institutions. We also hosted regular stakeholder meetings. In addition to this, we organized the review activities in working groups that we termed as “Focus Groups” that discussed all the themes emanating from the eight goals of the master plan. These discussions were hosted by different relevant institutions to increase the sense of ownership. In total, we did 12 focus group discussions hosted by different partner institutions. In addition to this, we had over 100 follow-up meetings hosted by different institutions. To support all this, we established information-sharing platforms including social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, an official email address, and a telephone number that was circulated to allow maximum feedback from the citizens and all stakeholders. We even launched a 30 days public exhibition of the Interim Plan where stakeholders and citizens were allowed to view it. We set up a stand in the Car Free zone for 30 days and had information desks at all three District One-Stop centers and CoK. We also hosted the Interim Master Plan on an online link which was open to all. All our Social media and data sharing platforms were also active in this period and we conducted another round of consultations with all citizens and stakeholders. We also capitalized on the Councilors’ week to visit all sectors of Kigali explaining the interim Master Plan. All the feedback that was gathered in the 30 day exhibition period was based on revising and amend the Interim Master Plan and out of it, we developed the Draft Final Master Plan. That too was presented to all stakeholders and citizens for father commenting and scrutiny. Two more draft final reports were submitted addressing all issues that were arising. End 2019, we have conducted awareness and sensitization campaigns in all 35 sectors of Kigali. These awareness campaigns were organized in a bid to enhance participatory and inclusive implementation of the revised Kigali Master Plan, and to improve citizen perceptions towards the Master Plan; The target groups in these campaigns were opinion leaders from the village level to the Sector level, Executive Secretaries of Sectors and Cells, at least two employees from the land bureaus of Sectors and Cells, and all Village chiefs. We have prepared a presentation that was given in Kinyarwanda, we also issued brochures printed in Kinyarwanda highlighting key concepts of the revised master plan. We also provided an A1 size map of the Master Plan for each sector. These members representing the communities are given all this information and material and are in-turn requested to help the rest of the citizens in their respective places of residences to understand and interpret the master Plan. Following feedback coming from all the sectors visited so far, we are pleased that the Citizens have been so receptive to the concepts of the revised Master Plan and are determined to own it and implement it as it is more citizen-centered. That’s how we got the City of Kigali Revised Master Plan 2019 that is an inclusive and responsive set of documents that have been reviewed, scrutinized, and appreciated by different local and international organizations that had a stake in it. The Master Plan sets out a comprehensive program of proposals and improvements that will transform the prospects for the City over the next 30 years. A Master Plan Implementation Framework was designed in consideration of the priority needs and the core implementation challenges with the objective of suggesting a clear direction for the City of Kigali’s priority interventions. The framework includes four main intertwined components which are supporting a holistic and strategic implementation of the Plan. Improvements to the Kigali City Institutional set-up were suggested, for example, to support the Master Plan Management. Specific actions and improved or new procedures were suggested to enhance the Good Governance and sustain Master Plan’s implementation in the long term. Capital Improvement and Catalytic Projects define critical and priority projects to accomplish Master Plan objectives and goals. The Masterplan 2050 will provide more flexible and affordable options to citizens and developers, but it is no panacea. The role that the City, developers, and stakeholders must play is and remains paramount for its successful implementation, communication, and enforcement. The framework includes four main intertwined components which will support a holistic and strategic implementation of the Plan 1. Master Plan Management: encompassing all actions required to efficiently manage the Master Plan and identifying further studies and tools required. Its core objective is to establish a set of processes and procedures to enable a flexible, yet rigorous enforcement of the Master Plan; 2. Institutional Framework: suggesting an improvement to the institutional set-up of the city; 3. Good Governance: identifying key improvements and additions to processes and procedures internal to CoK but, also suggesting ways to achieve better inter-institutional coordination 4. CIP and Catalytic Projects: listing key capital improvement and catalyst projects following the phased implementation of the Master Plan. To meet the growing demand with rapid urbanization, the City of Kigali has a big role to play, in terms of providing serviced land and adequate public infrastructure, and budget for critical infrastructures such as major roads, utilities, and public facilities. The catalytic projects are identified to induce development in the surrounding areas as per the planning intentions and demonstrate a successful implementation benchmark for similar developments in Kigali. Timely implementation of these catalytic projects is critical to the overall development of Kigali. The Kigali Master Plan 2050, prepared with the technical collaboration of SJ-SMEC consultant, was designed as an inclusive process, ensuring a good level of participation by repeatedly engaging a large number of qualified stakeholders (institutional, non-institutional, community representatives, opinion leaders, common citizens, etc.) in the consultations, and tried to follow a bottom-up approach that has involved a number of different and innovative modes of public engagement.


    This significant update process was citizen-centered; meaning that the population of Kigali, women, and men were entirely part of this process review. The City of Kigali works with its citizens, informs its citizens, and counts on them to successfully carry out the review of our city Master Plan. The new Master Plan will lead the economic and social growth of our city for the next thirty years. Therefore, this process requires everyone’s efforts for the future of our city and country in general. For our own future as citizens of Kigali. The Master Plan review for the City of Kigali has been drafted combining international best practices with a bottom-up approach, based on extensive socio-economic data collection and analysis and continued interaction with local and international stakeholders. This process led the City of Kigali to draft a highly customized strategy to support Kigali's aspirations to become the Centre of Urban Excellence in Africa. Great attention was put in addressing the issues highlighted in the 2013 Master Plan, introducing a more equitable, flexible, and incremental approach to City development, in line with the UNHABITAT New Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals, and with the latest and more innovative approaches being currently studied or implemented to guide the rapid urbanization of African Cities. Building on this approach, the “new” Kigali Master Plan aims at being more inclusive by facilitating a higher degree of social and economic inclusion, allowing for more social and economic mix in the City, favoring small and large investors, and facilitating the creation of a large variety of affordable housing solutions, hence supporting the growth of a healthy and well-balanced community. The review process was designed to address the concerns raised during the first 5 years of implementation, improving the methodological approach and the execution of planning activities, whenever needed, to achieve a more inclusive result. Key actions implemented in this review are listed below: A rigorous research methodology was applied to the review process with the objective to inform planning decisions. Extensive Primary Data collection was conducted to inform the socio-economic status quo analysis and the projections. Traffic counts were also conducted to address short-term traffic issues in the City and inform future transport models. All available data and studies were also collected and incorporated into the Plan. • An extensive stakeholders’ consultation process was carried out through focused Group Discussion, Stakeholders Meeting, and other digital platforms to investigate issues more in detail and find shared solutions. • An intense consultation with international organizations (UNHABITAT, WORLD BANK, etc.) was conducted to align MP strategies with ongoing and planned activities in the City. Continued interaction was also ensured with other ongoing consultancies (BRT study, Water, and Sanitation MP, NLUMP, etc.) • A wide research on the world’s best practices on regulations (different zoning models), urban policies (land consolidation, incremental development, financing), and affordable development models were conducted to inform the MP. Each of these inputs was then adapted to the Kigali context and evaluated together with relevant stakeholders. • A new transport and infrastructure model was developed to ensure that the service provision strategy allows for a high level of services, while still being affordable to the different income levels and neighborhoods in the City. • New Zones and Zoning regulations were studied to ensure affordability, flexibility, and implementability of the plan. Minimum Plot sizes are reduced, plot coverage increased, typologies adapted to ensure incremental development, and are now more in line with citizens’ purchasing power. Common facilities and public parks are suggested in suitable locations in a more flexible manner; • Mixed-use is suggested in most parts of the City, allowing the creation of employment opportunities integrated with the neighborhoods, thus allowing for a more inclusive economic development of the communities. • On-street parking is allowed along local roads, collectors, and minor arterials, and shared parking facilities are encouraged to maximize the use of land and support better parking demand management in the optic of encouraging the use of Public and Non-Motorized Transport. • Incrementality will be encouraged to maximize current investment capacity without hindering future development potential. • Inclusionary zoning for affordable housing will be encouraged and incentivized to increase affordable housing stock for low and moderate-income groups.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    There have been matters arising during the course of the 5 years of implementation of the 2013 Master Plan, and our primary goal has been to weed out these issues from the Master Plan that was to a large extent successful in its first phase of implementation. Among other reasons for the update was to align the Master Plan with other new policies (Secondary cities) and current social–economic dynamics in a bid to produce a Master Plan that responds to the ever-changing needs and preferences of our citizens. Our CBD is largely mono-use today, largely dominated by office developments and retail business. It is busy during the weekdays, but in the nighttime and weekends, we do not really see a lot of activity in the city Centre. We have introduced a broader mix of uses so that the CBD is not only a place to work but also a vibrant place to live and play. As we develop, we will continue to enhance our greenery, biodiversity, and heritage. From time to time, we hear concerns that Kigali is developing too rapidly, that we are losing greenery and historical spaces. We understand and are very mindful of these concerns. We are working hard to strike that fine balance. On one hand, we cannot afford to stand still. We have to continue to change and reinvent our city, because the competition is real, and we have to adapt and move forward in order to stay relevant. On the other hand, Kigali is not just a place of work – it is also our home, and we want to be a home that is beautiful and green, with familiar spaces that we can connect and identify with. We are continuing to make a conscious and deliberate plan and effort to protect and enhance our green spaces. We have always been doing this; it has always been an integral part of planning in Kigali and it continues to be the case in this Updated Master Plan. We have also a strategy to adapt to the realities of climate change, particularly rising global temperatures and rising sea levels. In the Master Plan, we have put in place various plans. To mitigate flood risks, we are improving our drainage infrastructure and, where possible, integrating them with other developments to optimize land use. Example of Agatare Upgrading project (Under implementation with funding from World Bank). As the land is a limited resource that needs to be utilized in a sustainable manner, the infrastructure there, serves more than one purpose (as a means of connectivity & stormwater management). These infrastructures include drainages, streets, and footpaths, open spaces. The Kigali City updated Master Plan is not about building skyscrapers. Instead, Kigali City Master Plan 2050 provides an answer to many questions: • How should land be used? • Where growth should occur and in what form? • Where should housing and commercial development be located? • How and where should the different building uses be located? • How the quality of life of citizens is improved? • How should we protect our natural resources (Wetlands, rivers, etc) • What will be the density of the developments?’ • Affordable city • Housing, understanding key constraints for affordable housing development • Informal Settlements • Informal Economies • Land Management and land consolidation legal framework and • implementation in Urban Area • Services at Neighborhood Level Fortunately, with the help of the revised Master Plan, the City can guide its future growth and development. Whenever a developer wants to build, or the City wants to construct a new road, or the Government wants to provide new infrastructure, the Master Plan will be the first step to guide their decisions.

    Sustainability and replicability

    Rwanda has a strong advantage when it comes to achieving the SDG due to its strong leadership, political will, political acceptability, and enforcement. The other advantage for Kigali is well-organized urban governance. E-Governance has become critical in today’s urban management and the City of Kigali is striving towards becoming a Smart city. As of today, several e-government platforms are already operating in Kigali and in Rwanda: Irembo services give access to many government services and information. Kigali Master Plan is accessible online since 2013 and Online Building permitting system (BPMIS) is operational and was integrated with Land Administration Information System. A strong and capable local government is considered key to ensuring inclusive and sustainable development, facilitating governance systems that promote transparent decision-making and multi-stakeholder involvement. When we plan for the transformation of our City, Kigali, in terms of social, economic, and physical aspects, it is critical for the human and administrative capacities to keep pace as urban governance and management require greater capacity at all levels of government and for all involved in the process. Therefore, capacity building for urban governance and management in the areas of urban planning, development regulations, urban management, and stakeholder engagement was essential. The urban growth in Kigali City is being guided by a well-developed policy and legal framework, and many reforms have been made in the governance/ institutional setup in recent years, towards good governance. The Master Plan proposes to build on the reforms and encourage the City of Kigali to work towards a well-coordinated and sustainable implementation of the Plan. Further, it proposes to strengthen the institutional framework for urban management to ensure integrated and effective coordination in planning and implementation and to ensure a participatory and bottom-up approach, not only in the planning and designing phase but also during the implementation phase. A more participatory approach in the City of Kigali’s functions will prove viable in increasing partnerships with communities, non-governmental agencies, and the private sector, for sound development. e methodological approach followed in the execution of all activities during the masterplan review process, brings intrinsic advantages related to the quality of the outcomes and to their adherence to Kigali reality. The extensive consultation process conducted with technical national and international stakeholders ensured a common understanding and a shared action plan on the way forward. The expected outcomes can be summarized as follows: • Provide different scales and cost range of commercial and industrial solutions, the following current and expected market dynamics; • Facilitate access to the market of small and micro enterprises, currently the majority in Kigali and in the Country, promoting the creation of more formal jobs; • Allow incremental development of commercial and mixed-use buildings following the investment capacity of investors and developers but in respect of clear guidelines; • Encouraging mix of uses in all areas to promote a 24h City; • Integrated Micro-Enterprise Zones in housing areas, mixed with social infrastructure and green open spaces; • Reduction of zones dedicated to single-family housing, promotion of densification with incentives to modify building typologies and densities; • Facilitate vertical and horizontal incremental development, allowing phased construction of mixed-use, residential or commercial buildings; • Promote upgrading and or redevelopment in high land value areas where land pooling approach will be effective due to cross financing mechanism; • Implement an extensive Site & Servicing approach to accommodate low-income earners. Sites have been selected for their proximity to public transport corridors. Areas will be mixed-use zones allowing a vast variety of income-generating activities and public facilities; • Adopt flexible and adaptive guidelines, allowing incremental low-cost construction, in respect of minimum design guidelines; • Promote and incentivize land pooling as the main implementation tool for providing affordable housing solutions; • Establish social and income mix in all parts of the City to ensure social cohesion in the current population and future generations • Preserving more Agricultural Land by encouraging land consolidation also in Rural Areas; • Promote infrastructure resilience, In order for the infrastructure in Kigali to meet the resilient and sustainable requirements; it is essential to upgrade the existing-aging facilities and networks. Zoning Plan and Guidelines are designed to facilitate a balanced and compact physical growth of the City while enhancing its social, economic, and environmental assets. This approach was replicated in the secondary cities of Rwanda. It can also be replicated somewhere else.

    Other sources of information
    COVID-19 Impact

    The COVID 19 will impact the urbanization of Kigali in the long term and is redefining urban living, practically and theoretically, for a post-pandemic future. Remote working, green space, several people have opted for personal modes of transport (biking, walking, and personal mobility vehicles). This period has been a good time to re-imagine our fundamental relationship with our City and redefine our priorities. It has been a good time to plan with people and for the people, by focusing on more climate-resilient infrastructure that does more with less. Kigali controlled the spread of Covid-19 through rigorous contact tracing, widespread testing, lockdowns, curfews, and mandatory isolation. Kigali is emerging stronger, in the urbanization sector, during this crisis due to good governance. With technology, we have proven that we were ready to embrace change and were innovative and creative in our response: provided social support (using an App called Ngirankugire for food distribution to vulnerable households), boosted e-service delivery, and encouraged community involvement (Youth volunteers and physician or nurse in their neighborhood). Good governance has emerged as one of the key drivers of successful responses from Kigali. The COVID-19 crisis presents to Kigali an opportunity for a 'Great Reset' towards a greener, resilient, healthier, smart, inclusive, and sustainable city. We couldn’t afford to waste away this opportunity. For example: • The Government institutions and other services continued working remotely during the total lockdown period since they mostly use e-services, Live chat to assist clients and they have also used email address and phone to address all issues of the customers; • Service delivery has boosted during the lockdown in Kigali as a response to Covid 19 prevention measures; • Projects of public spaces and parks in or near CBD are under construction, others reviving, as these spaces became islands of relief for residents wanting to venture out for exercise and fresh air, to deal with Covid depressions; • Kigali has started accelerating the implementation of the masterplan, in terms of green growth by promoting public space, green transport, providing affordable housing solutions, especially to informal settlement dwellers. • Kigali is accelerating his plan of promoting NMT transport by implementing a pilot project of E-bike sharing which will reduce congestion and air pollution by providing convenient mobility for short trips. • The home-based care model has been established in many countries as an important approach to deliver care to COVID-19 patients, particularly in the context of addressing the surge in COVID-19 cases; In Rwanda, more than 90% of COVID-19 patients with no symptoms, or mild to moderate symptoms without other risk factors are enrolled in home-based care (HBC). This case management model requires specific protocols to ensure clinical evaluation and close follow-up of individual patients. With thousands of patients enrolled in this care model, the Rwanda Medical Association (RMA), in collaboration with the City of Kigali and Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), initiated operation “Save The Neighbor” in early February 2021 to ensure close clinical evaluation and continued infection prevention control (IPC) measures for COVID-19 patients in the home. A physician or nurse is responsible to closely monitor a number of COVID-19 patients in their neighborhood, including daily clinical evaluation (temperature, blood pressure, oxygen levels, etc..) and checking whether the patients and other household members are adhering to the requirements of home care. • Under coronavirus lockdown, Kigali informal settlements residents struggle to practice social distancing and were at significant risk of contracting the COVID 19. A greater proportion of informal settlements residents share rooms with three or more individuals. This is an indication of inherent overcrowding in informal settlement areas. A higher percentage of informal settlements have shared toilets. This indicates that there is hardly any space in settlements for social distancing. The conditions of informal settlements inhabitants are worse compared to their non- informal settlements counterparts: This factor makes them highly vulnerable to contracting the virus. This challenge of informal settlement dwellers has led to fast-track its program of upgrading informal settlement through a participatory approach by using a rehousing scheme. The main objective of this rehousing project in an informal settlement is to provide low-cost affordable and adequate homes to low-income households/earners specifically those dwelling in unplanned settlements also prone to high risk of disasters. Along the way, the achievement will lead also to the following specific objectives:  To gradually upgrade informal settlements in Kigali through rehousing;  To improve the livability of informal settlers by improving their healthy safety;  To replicate a low-cost construction technology throughout the city, thus bridge housing shortage gap;  To encourage community participation approach by landowners contributing their land property and engaging beneficiaries in construction casual works.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    05 July 2018 (start date)
    31 December 2050 (date of completion)
    The City of Kigali
    Other beneficiaries

    The revised Kigali Master Plan will best serve the City’s population as it will emphasize social inclusion, economic development, provide quality services, access to community facilities, and ensure sustainable growth. Stakeholders from all sectors of government institutions, sectoral agencies, civil society organizations, international organizations, private sector, citizens, and the media were involved during the Master Plan review process mostly for planning approaches to address main challenges identified during the Inception phase. The City of Kigali adopted a concerted and collaborative review process that will provide a more inclusive Master Plan. This process, citizen-centered involves an intense interaction with citizens at all levels. It allows the City of Kigali to identify cross-cutting issues, benefit from an analytical tool for planning and decision making, and prioritize actions. Valuables comments collected through various meetings and through different communication platforms with Kigali citizens will be used in the Master Plan update. The Master Plan Update is done by the people for the people and as emphasized by Fred Mugisha, the Director of Kigali Urban Planning and Construction One Stop Centre, the voice of the population is key in the wider consensus and will successfully facilitate Master Plan implementation. To sustain this approach and strengthen the impact of the adopted strategy, DFID with the support of REBEL, agreed to support the City of Kigali in implementing an Action Plan to enable citizens and relevant stakeholders to be active and informed implementers of the Master Plan and to understand the challenges faced in the participatory process, to suggest corrective measures to be implemented in future reviews and in local implementing actions.

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    Contact Information

    MUHIRWA , Chief of Urban Planning