KCC calls for special mortgage facility
Kigali City Council (KCC) is appealing to the government to establish a special mortgage facility to boost the implementation of the Kigali City Master Plan.
The call was made as it emerged that lack of funding has hampered several development projects in line with the master plan.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the Vice Mayor in charge of Finance and Economic Development, Alphonse Nizeyimana, said while KCC has registered multiple development projects, most have failed to take off due to lack of access to finance owing to high cost of financing mortgages, high interest rates and inability to offer long term loans.
“We are currently in discussions with external financial institutions to provide long term loans to developers since local banks have failed. We believe this will work out,” Nizeyimana said.
He expressed optimism that in spite of the existing challenges, the first phase will be ready by 2015. According to KCC, projects worth Rwf140bn have so far been approved by the city’s construction office.
Information from KCC obtained by The New Times indicates that several development projects are ongoing whereas construction permits have been granted to others. On the other hand, numerous real estate developers have submitted detailed proposals and are presently awaiting construction permits.
Nizeyimana, meanwhile, prodded city residents to live in apartments to ease implementation of the City master plan.
He cited limited appropriate space for real estate development as the rationale behind the push for apartments. The city features over 730 square kilometres of hills and valleys and only a meagre 422,825 square metres is appropriate for development.
And as the city officials press on to emulate the Singaporean infrastructural model in an effort to make Kigali a model city in the region, they emphatically say changes are due.
“It’s high time residents of Kigali bought the idea of living in apartments other than living in a scattered manner. This is the only way the city master plans can be well implemented,” Nizeyimana urged.
Kigali City is currently in the process of developing Master Plans for Kicukiro and Gasabo districts. This is in a bid to ensure sustainable land use in the future after the completion of the Nyarugenge Master Plan with smaller sub-area projects eventually forming the complete Kigali City Master Plan. The designs are set to be complete by December this year.
According to the officials, once implemented, both master plans will ensure and guide development in the city in the next 20 to 30 years, which they believe would emulate Singapore.
Surbana International Consultants, a technical firm based in Singapore with a liaison office in Kigali, said the government has all it requires to accomplish the developments as stipulated in the master plan amidst all the challenges that include intricate terrain and poor infrastructure.
“Regardless of all other obstacles hinged on the features and unemployment problem, with the government’s current zeal, we will see an amazing city after a few years,” commented Djoko Prihanto, the Deputy Managing Director of Surbana.
The company was contracted to review the planning, direction and strategies for the entire city while integrating all the past planning and development initiatives undertaken. It will also prepare a detailed master plan, urban design (for key areas) and also develop control guidelines for Gasabo and Kicukiro districts.
The technical experts will also establish a Geographic Information System (GIS) database for the entire city with information on proposed land use and development control guidelines that will be made easily available to the public on an interactive web platform in the future.
It is envisaged that the city’s population would grow to about 2.9 million in 2025 and five million in 2040. About 17 percent of the city is currently urban land, while 50 percent is used for agriculture while the rest is preserved for nature.
Contact email: fred.ndoli[at]newtimes.co.rw