The City of Kigali is one of 50 Champion Cities selected today as finalists in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, a global innovation competition that identifies and accelerates the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These 50 urban innovations rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 630 applications from 99 countries, in the first-ever Global Mayors Challenge.
As a Mayors Challenge finalist, Kigali now advances to the four-month Champion Phase of the competition. From June through October, the 50 finalist cities will refine their ideas with technical assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies and its network of leading innovation experts.
Fifteen of the 50 cities will ultimately win the grand prize, with each receiving $1 million and robust multi-year technical assistance to implement and scale their ideas. Grand Prize Winners will be announced in early 2022.
“These 50 finalists are showing the world that in the face of the pandemic’s enormous challenges, cities are rising to meet them with bold, innovative, and ambitious ideas,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City.
“By helping these cities test their ideas over the coming months, we will have a chance to identify cutting-edge policies and programs that can allow cities to rebuild in ways that make them stronger and healthier, and more equal and more just.”
Kigali proposes to adopt proven rain water-harvesting technologies in informal communities.
The City of Kigali has adopted an on-site housing redevelopment and infrastructure upgrading strategy to improve living conditions in informal settlements. Lessons learnt from a pilot project executed in 2019 in Kimisagara Sector has revealed new challenges as follows:
Increased water bills as residents now have running water but spend up to four times more than in their previous setting. The proposed solution is to leverage the regular runoff water from heavy rains and apply stormwater harvesting that will be connected to buildings, to reduce residents’ dependency on commercial water and reduce flooding.
Uncoordinated solid waste disposal where households continue to have no adequate/dedicated space for waste disposal, and waste is left in open space awaiting collection day which is a health and safety hazard. The solution to this is to introduce a smart waste system that includes segregation at source and central collection area with smart bins that alert collection companies on fill levels.
The Mayor of City of Kigali, Pudence Rubingisa welcomed the development saying that the city looks forward to working with Bloomberg on different projects.
“We are very excited to be one of the winners of the Mayors’ Challenge and we look forward to working with Bloomberg on a project that offers a full package to upgrade informal settlements,”
“Beyond the provision of decent housing, our project addresses other factors that negatively affect the living conditions of residents of informal settlements. It aims to enhance the City’s informal settlements upgrading policy by proposing a Nature-Based Solution and Smart Waste Collection services for a safer, cleaner, and more inclusive urban environment,” Rubingisa said.
The 50 Champion Cities submitted ideas addressing four of the most significant challenges borne of the pandemic: Economic Recovery & Inclusive Growth; Health & Wellbeing; Climate & Environment; and Good Governance & Equality. A prestigious selection committee co-chaired by Bloomberg Philanthropies board member Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO & President, Ariel Investments, and David Miliband, President & CEO, International Rescue Committee, assessed the applications to determine the Champion City finalists.
“This is always an especially exciting phase of the Mayors Challenge, helping mayors push their innovations to even greater heights,” said James Anderson, head of Government Innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “While 15 cities will ultimately take home grand prizes, all 50 cities receive world class coaching and support to improve their ideas and their potential to improve lives.”
The 2021 Global Mayors Challenge builds on the success of four previous Bloomberg-sponsored Challenges in the U.S. (2013 and 2018), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). For more information, visit mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org and @BloombergCities on Twitter and Instagram.