Rwanda Urban Infrastructure and City Management Project

Steven Bobson, Europe & Americas Editor
September 23, 2012 /

Since 2006, the International Development Association (IDA) support has enabled the Rwandan cities of Kigali, Huye and Musanze to improve service provision to their citizens. For example, in Kigali and Huye, 535,580 people have gained access to paved roads.

In Musanze, 70,258 people have gained access to an improved health center, school and multipurpose hall facilities. By 2009, 15-27 percent of municipal budgets were allocated to infrastructure and facilities maintenance, from a baseline in 2006 of 2.5 percent in Kigali City, 2 percent in Huye district and 7 percent in Musanze district. This increase demonstrates the improved ability of these cities to continue to deliver and maintain services to their inhabitants.


The urban sector in Rwanda faces multiple challenges stemming from a mismatch between infrastructure development/service delivery and high levels and growth rates of the urban population. The urbanization rate had reached 20 percent in 2004, up from 6 percent in 1991, with a particularly high population growth rate in Kigali, representing a threefold increase in population between 1994 and 2002.

The level of infrastructure in Kigali was intended to accommodate about 450,000 people, whereas the population had reached over 800,000 inhabitants. Secondary cities registered a twofold increase in population over the same period. Rapid urbanization had resulted in unplanned and squalid settlements, urban sprawl, and increasing urban poverty.

More than 80 percent of the population of Kigali and 85 to 90 percent of the population of secondary cities lived in informal neighborhoods, often in areas considered precarious or unsafe.


The Rwanda Urban Infrastructure and City Management Project (RUICMP), was designed to improve the provision of priority infrastructure and services in the cities of Kigali (about 800,000 inhabitants in 2006), Huye (about 100,000 inhabitants) and Musanze (about 100,000 inhabitants). This project built on the idea of the City Contract, a document signed between the city and the central government, detailing performance targets and commitments on both sides.

The targets were based on audits (urban, financial, and organizational) carried out during the project preparation phase to identify physical and institutional priorities. The audits built on existing local development plans, and involved the participation of the local government and communities, ensuring ownership of the process and continuity of the approach.

In addition, in a context where the government is keen to keep both central and local government departments lean with a minimum of permanent staff, the use of a delegated contract management agency for civil works (Association d’exécution des travaux d’intéret public, or ASSETIP) was introduced to deliver timely and quality investments.


Approximately 535,580 people in Kigali and Huye, and 70,258 people in Musanze are benefitting from the following improvements completed by project closing in December 2009:

Construction of 22.6 kilometers of asphalt and stone paved roads in Kigali and Huye ensuring access in slums and poor neighborhoods, better circulation, and inter-connection of districts (leading to a reduction in transport costs by up to 60 percent, and reduction in prices of staple foods by 18 percent in neighborhoods surveyed due to improved accessibility of vendors).

Improved social infrastructure including the construction of: (a) three primary schools (two in Kigali and one in Musanze), resulting in a decrease in the number of children per class from 60 to 46, and an increase in the pass rate from 28 to 93 percent in the schools surveyed; (b) a health care center in Musanze, resulting in a tenfold increase in family planning consultations, an increase in assisted births in health care units from 466 in 2008 to 5,130 in 2009, and a reduction by 50 percent in the number of non-assisted home births; and (c) a youth center in a poor neighborhood benefitting 500 youths on a daily basis.

Improved economic infrastructure through the construction in Kigali of the Kimironko and Kicukiro bus terminals, which have facilitated inter-district movement within the city and improved linkages with the neighboring areas. The Kimironko terminal is currently generating about US$40,000 in revenue per year.
Technical assistance in the hands-on use of tools such as City Contracts, urban audits, street addressing, and financial ratios (revenues vs. investments and maintenance), have enabled improved city management:
Financial resources have increased 30 percent on average.

By 2009, the percent of municipal budgets allocated to infrastructure and facilities maintenance had increased to 15-27 percent, from a baseline in 2006 of 2.5 percent in Kigali City, 2 percent in Huye district and 7 percent in Musanze district.

Bank Contribution

Out of a total project cost of US$ 30 million, IDA provided a US$20.7 million grant in 2006.

The project was designed jointly and co-funded by IDA (US$20.7 million), government of Rwanda (US$2.64 million) and the Nordic Development Fund or NDF (US$7.13 million). The NDF credit was earmarked for storm water drainage and erosion control improvements. In addition, Cities Alliance funded about US$243,000 for the Financial Management Modernization and Development Strategy for Kigali and its districts.

Mayor of Kicukiro said: “We had no bus station here. Yet, our district is busy and growing. Our people had to walk quite long distances to take buses to town where those who are travelling upcountry would connect with upcountry buses. So, this is a great achievement.”

Toward the Future

An action plan was developed prior to the closing of the project to transfer capacities and institutionalize the use of project tools by the involved parties. The project acted as a catalyst, bringing together multiple actors in the sector and facilitating the establishment, by the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), of the Rwanda Urban and Housing Authority (RHA) as a single organizational unit to implement the government’s policies in the sector.

Most of the urban management tools developed under the project have been mainstreamed into national programs by MININFRA (to be implemented by RHA) and by districts. These include urban audits and City Contracts, street addressing, and slum upgrading. Financial management tools have been transferred to the Ministry of Local Administration.

Anticipated support from other donors for road investments and urban management in Kigali will carry forward some elements of the urban development strategy, while some of the policy reform elements will be addressed in the Poverty Reduction Support Grant series supported by IDA.


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