From unplanned settlement to new housing development in Kigali city: the case study of Amahoro cell, Muhima sector
par John MUGISHA
National University of Rwanda - Bachelor's degree 2011
CBD: Central business district
ECA: Economic Commission for Africa
EDPRS: Economic development and poverty reduction strategy
KCC: Kigali city council
KCMP: Kigali conceptual master plan
MINECOFIN: Ministry of economic planning and finance
MININFRA: Ministry of infrastructure
NGOs: Nongovernmental organizations
RHA: Rwanda Housing Authority
RHB: Rwanda Housing Bank
RSSB: Rwanda Social Security Board
It's easy to understand the fundamental need for shelter. People require protection from weather elements, somewhere to bring up their families, a place to work from and a home to call their own. Yet, at present, over one billion people - a fifth of the world's population - are either homeless or live in very poor housing (Mutekede, 2007). The majority of them are the poorest people of the world's developing countries. Poor families in developing countries are forced to improvise with their housing, either because building materials are too costly or - in areas vulnerable to natural hazards such as floods and landslides- good building land is too expensive.
With affordable, suitable land becoming scarcer, especially in urban areas, poor people find it increasingly difficult to find the resources to build houses of their own or to buy or rent houses built by professionals. Instead, they build houses with poor and unsustainable materials on a small piece of land which cannot support any other domestic activities. When such kind of houses concentrates on a given urban area, especially without land rights, they result into informal settlement or slum. This type of settlement is characterized by inadequate infrastructure, unsustainable environments, uncontrolled and unhealthy population densities, poor access to health and education facilities and employment opportunities, lack of effective governance and management and inadequate dwellings (Durand-Lasserve, 2007).
According to UN estimates, 924 million people - nearly one out of three urban dwellers - were living in slums in 2004. Of these, 874 million are from low and middle-income countries (millennium project, 2005). In addition, urban poverty is clearly increasing: 43% of the population of developing cities is living in slums (28% in north Africa, 71% in sub-Saharan Africa, 42% in Asia and 32% in Latin America) ( UN-Habitat, 2003). By 2020, this figure is expected to increase to 1.5 to 1.7 billion, depending on estimates. According to Cohen (2004), estimates suggest that 2.8 billion will need housing and urban services in 2030. The slum population is expected to increase from 32% of the world population in 2001, to 41% in 2030.
So far, no satisfactory solution for addressing the challenge of slums has been found. Conventional responses are usually based on the combination of three main types of settlement: (i) in situ upgrading in existing informal settlements; (ii) evictions followed by resettlement on serviced sites on the periphery of cities; (iii) the preventive provision of low-cost serviced plots for housing (UN-Habitat, 2003). These responses have achieved limited results. Despite some major successes where political will and continuity, economic development and mobilization of resources in sufficient quantities have made possible the implementation at the national level of innovative policies for housing the poor (South Africa, Brazil, Tunisia etc), scaling up remains a major problem. Most slum policies are simply treating the symptoms and cannot be considered as structural and sustainable policies.
In the United Nations millennium declaration (UN-Habitat, 2003), world leaders pledged to tackle this immense challenge, setting the specific goal of achieving significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020. This goal may be achievable through governments putting in place special urban policies that address the plight of slum dwellers and the poor.
Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, and its capital Kigali is growing at a rate of about 6% per annum (MINECOFIN, 2006). Until recently, there was no national law or policy relevant to construction, housing, or urbanization, apart from a national program to cluster rural housing in Imidugudu. This led to a spontaneous development of informal housing in most parts of the city.However, as a roadmap to achieve Rwanda's 2020 vision, together with other planning documents , Kigali conceptual master plan was established in 2007 (MININFRA, 2007). According to KCMP existing situation analysis, existing city development portrays a largely unplanned mixed use settlement, except in industrial areas where these uses are likely to be more concentrated in random parts of the city outskirts. Redevelopment and upgrading in the existing urban area must be addressed as a special case within the overall urban development because of a number of complexities.