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Kigali 27 Years Later: Beauty Takes Shape

by Plaisir Muzogeye
3:13 pm

Hills that offer a panoramic view of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda were 27 years ago looking hopeless.

Thousands of city dwellers fled to them for safety during the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994, but they were not able to hide them.

In the contrary, killers pursued and killed them with intention of leaving no one to tell the story.

27 years later, thanks to liberation of Rwanda by the then Rwanda Patriotic Front(RPF) Inkotanyi and its army – Rwanda Patriotic Army – July 4, 1994, the same hills have become a point of view of a hopeful capital city.

On those hills, thousands seek to build residential houses to be able to contemplate the beauty of the city from Kigali International airport via Giporoso to Central Business Disctrict(CBD) via Kigali Convention center and name it.

No wonder, CBD is distinguished from the rest of Kigali districts – Kicukiro and Gasabo by its high-rise buildings that host headquarters of banks, insurance companies, and other corporate companies that rent premium space.

Developers are upgrading other neighborhoods which have also become attractive thanks to the guidance of a new master plan by Surbana, a Singaporean company.

Like CBD itself, Kigali as a whole is known by its green and clean environment with minimum pollution despite a growing industrial sector and road traffic.

Every other day, the unplanned settlement including slums which represent nearly 60% of the city is replaced by new modern buildings in accordance with the zoning of the Kigali Master Plan.

Those from slums that cannot afford individual buildings can find a house in model villages.

A   model village in most cases hosts families that are relocated from slums and other high-risk zones from unplanned settlements. The reason being of model villages is mostly to provide a decent life to city dwellers who own houses that can only put them in danger of floods and landslides among other calamities.

Kigali city has also seen important development in road network with currently several highways of four lanes.

The highways meander along with a beautiful garden buffer which brings happiness to the road users, leave alone their role of protecting the environment in the greenest city of the continent.

Residential neighborhoods in Kigali reflect the confidentiality mindset of the Rwandan community. The wish for every Rwandan family is to live in an individual, well-closed compound to maximize privacy.

For this reason, houses are in different shapes, adjusted to the dream and the budget of the family.

No wonder, this has undermined city’s effort to promote high-density residential setup-apartments known for saving land which is already scarce in Rwanda.

The big number of investors involved in construction engineering and logistics justifies why the city has got multicolor styles of construction and equipment.

The construction sector attracts both local and international investors. The latter are either attracted by specific mega-deals or by the need of competing with local counterparts on the market.

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