Home Special Reports “If You Want to Be Rich Build Roads” – How Rwanda Follows Wisdom Of The Chinese Saying

“If You Want to Be Rich Build Roads” – How Rwanda Follows Wisdom Of The Chinese Saying

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
2:45 am

Kivu Belt road

Three weeks ago, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente briefed parliament on the state of Rwanda’s economy, in particular the country’s recovery from the economic effects of the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic. One of the major contributors to that recovery, was the continuing development of the road infrastructure.

As in almost all less advanced nations, the road network that existed, had been designed to lead from the country to a port, or airport. There was no road infrastructure linking the country to itself.

From the outset, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) led government, made linking all four corners of the country a priority. Construction of major highways and feeder roads continues apace, making a demonstrable difference to economic growth, and of course, the recovery from Covid-19.

A four lane road in Kigali

Farmers now find it easier to supply goods to markets within their locality and nationwide. Similarly, industry and businesses of every description can rely on efficient supply routes, which continue to expand.       From the North, eastwards, a 124 kilometre new strategic road network has been completed, linking Base, Rukomo and Nyagatare.


Two of the road’s tributaries cut through the mountains of the northern province, a major tourist attraction. The region is also the country’s bread basket, and the roads are the main supply routes for farmers, including dairy produce, tea plantations, and wheat farms.

The road also passes through areas that are of historical importance, recalling Rwanda’s liberation journey. It is used by the many visitors who visit sites like Murindi, which are now memorials to the liberation struggle.

The soon to be completed Bugesera – Gasoro (Nyanza) road, will cut the journey from the Tanzanian border to the east, to other areas of Rwanda, without having to go through the capital Kigali. Rusumo border post is a major supply route for goods coming from Tanzania. A more direct route will bring a welcome change for traders. According to the Rwanda Transport Development Authority (RTDA), the road is expected to be completed in July this year.

Perhaps the most eye catching of the new roads is also the longest. The 197 kilometres Kivu road, is nearing completion with just eight kilometres remaining. The road goes through the stunning scenery around lake Kivu, familiar to anyone who watches the annual Tour du Rwanda cycling competition.

The road Ngoma-Ramiro-Gasoro(Nyanza)

The Huye – Kibeho road will also be completed in July. Kibeho has become an important pilgrimmage, for believers, after three students claimed to have been addressed by an apparition of the virgin Mary early 1980s.

In urban areas, the towns of Nyagatare, Kayonza, Gatsibo, Kirehe, to name a few, now boast a road network that gives them a direct connection to other parts of the country.

There are also 450 feeder roads, mostly leading to and from agricultural areas, and more are expected to be added, as an ambitious target of feeder roads to link the entire country continues. In only five years, the number of feeder roads has increased from 2,500 kilometres, to 3,700 kilometers.

Kayonza road

We are now looking forward to building feeder roads in zones to the tea and coffee factories of Nyaruguru, Rugabano, Gisovu and Pfunda to increase production,” said Imena Munyampenda, Director General of RTDA.

Impressive as what has been achieved is, what is to come is even more ambitious. The Kibirizi to Akanyaru road, will change the perception that what is commonly known as Akanyaru belt, is a remote area.

The road will connect Bugesera-Gasoro road via Kibirizi, by way of Hakan Peat towards the Burundi border. It is expected to cost $ 80 million. It will join the road linking the villages of Nyagisozi to Remera, which abut the Burundi border.

Costing $72million, the road linking Kinigi, Kabatwa, Kabuhanga, Busasamana to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), will also serve the agriculturally fertile region of the Birunga (Virunga) from the North to the Western provinces, an area that is also an important tourist attraction.

Musanze city

It is a very important road for tourism. For example, a tourist will be able to visit Akagera National Park in the Eastern Province, then ply the road Nyagatare-Base-Butaro-Kidaho to reach the Volcano national park in Musanze,” Imena said, then from here, the tourist would take Kinigi-Rubavu road to wrap up their visit on Lake Kivu shores.”

According to RTDA, fourteen further roads are envisaged, including the Muhazi belt (Cyamutara, -Gatsibo-Kiramuruzi, in the first instance), to be followed by Kajevuba to Kabuga ka Musha, and then Kanyange to Sematunguru, and Kayonza-Gatsibo, to name just a few.

With economic and population expansion, the traffic in the capital Kigali, increases exponentially. There is a programme to widen roads, and build flyovers, following the success of the underpass at the Kicukiro Centre junction. The busy Giporoso-Masaka-Kabuga, will get extra lanes.

Sonatubes-Rwandex road in Kigali

We shall also add a grade separation with a kind of flyover or under pass. We plan to start anytime after June. It will cost us nearly $90 million,” said Imena.

The overall objective is to improve and maintain the flow of traffic in Kigali, as more vehicles come on the roads. This includes improved public transport in the capital and around the country.

In this regard, junctions, exits will be improved, and one of exciting plans could be the Nyabugogo-Ruyenzi-Muhanga exit of Kigali.

According to Imena, the plan is first of all to build four lanes from Nyabugogo(Ku Mashyirahamwe) to Ruriba, and then across in Ruyenzi, the adjacent Kamonyi district-

On this road, another four lanes will be built from Kivumu in the Muhanga secondary city outskirt. This part will proceed up to Kabgayi hospital in Muhanga city.

The remaining part of this road which will be two lanes will also be considered. A third lane, also known as climbing lane will be added on the steep slopes of more than 8%. They will be dedicated to tracks, which will reduce congestion.

In the aftermath of COVID-19, the government contributed to the transport recovery by increasing the number of buses from 332 in 2021 to 500 buses in Kigali only.

The government bought buses and facilitated private operators to acquire them through their banks. 200 buses were ordered, a hundred of them now operating, and another one hundred is expected within one month,” Prime Minister Edouard Ngirenrte told parliament. 

He said that another 104 buses will be ordered in near future.  

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