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From unplanned settlement to new housing development in Kigali city: the case study of Amahoro cell, Muhima sector

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par John MUGISHA
National University of Rwanda - Bachelor's degree 2011

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4.9 Major housing developers in Kigali city

Apart from self provision of housing units by individuals in Kigali city (and they are the majority), there are both public and private institutions (firms) that play a significant role in real estate development.Rwanda social security board (RSSB) is the major public institution that has concentrated efforts and finance in real estate development especially in residential housing development. One of the Rwanda social security board's developments is Gacuriro estate in Kinyinya sector of Gasabo district. Gacuriro estate is a well developed residential site with basic infrastructures such as paved roads and streets, electricity and water connections (photo 7). There are 302 houses that were built in 2003 on Gacuriro estate site. It is said that these houses were built to facilitate low-income people to own a shelter. However, the standard and cost of houses built by RSSB in Gacuriro seem to be high compared to income of the majority of Kigali residents. Rwanda Social Security Boardsold each house at a cost of 23 million Rwandan francs with 5 million paid in advance. The rest of the money could be paid in installments. Houses that were not bought are being rate rented at a price of 1200$ per month.

Photograph 7: Gacuriro houses built by RSSB

Source: Author, 2011

Rwanda Social Security Board is undertaking another housing project scheme of 2600 in the same area. Private land owners were compensated according to the expropriation law of Rwanda.

Kigali city council (KCC) has also contributed to the housing of its low-income citizens especially those displaced (relocated) by expropriation in public interest. To provide affordable housing to low-income groups, KCC developed `a model house' constructed using sustainable low-cost materials (photo8). In the first phase, 250 low-cost model houses were constructed in Batsinda, Kinyinya sector in Gasabo district. The site is provided with a school health center, roads, electricity and water. KCC resettled residents that were expropriated in Ubumwe cell, Muhima sector in Nyarugenge district. The cost of each house was 10,000$. The cost was somehow affordable to poor families since they were assisted to pay, through collaboration of Kigali city with Rwanda Housing Bank (RHB) which provided loans. Even though somehow affordable in terms of cost, some occupants claim that a two-bedroom house is too small for large families. KCC is planning to build more houses in the following phases.

Photograph 8: Batsinda model house

Source: Kigali city website (

Rwanda Housing Bank (RHB) is a public financial institution that was established by the government to finance housing development in Rwanda. The institution basically provides loans to individuals who want to build their houses. The Rwanda Housing Bank normally gives loans to individuals that want to purchase, complete or upgrade their homes. Also the bank provides loans to property developers wishing to construct houses for sale. The developers should have a 40% of the project cost; while the bank gives a loan of 60% (the bank offers loans to qualifying buyers as well). However the bank also developed 52 houses in Gacuriro that were sold to individuals.

Some public institutions, like the national bank of Rwanda, have built houses for their employees to facilitate them to own a shelter. This has contributed to housing ownership by most public servants.

In addition to housing development by public institutions, there are private estate developers that build houses and sell or rent them to individuals. Kigali top mountain company is one of them and has constructed 58 houses in Gacuriro cell. The Kigali top mountain company is opting to widen its housing supply in Kigali city. Another private company that constructs houses for sale is real constructors, the proprietor of Kabuga hillside estate. The new Kabuga hillside estate located in Rusororo (Gasabo district) enjoys a range of residential pleasures. Kabuga hillside estate is located 7 kilometers from Kigali international airport. It has 79 units each with 4 bedrooms on spacious 25x25m plots.

A general observation is that most houses built by either public or private firms (or institutions) are expensive and cannot be bought by most low-income earners in Kigali city.

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