African business, politics and lifestyle
Who gains from Kigali’s building boom?
A government initiative called ‘Vision 2020′ is intended to transform Rwanda into a middle income country, with a healthy annual growth rate of seven percent.
Rwanda is one of Africa’s most densely populated countries and Kigali needs to deal with a rapidly growing population that already numbers 1 million.
The Vision 2020 construction boom is creating employment opportunities in a country where many have no jobs. At the same time foreign investors are also flocking to Kigali.
But there’s a negative side to the boom. Structures that don’t meet building standards are being demolished.
Absalom Mvuyekure is a landlord whose one-bedroomed house and two other houses that he owns will be demolished. Though the government has compensated him, he is unhappy.
“For this house of mine the government gave me $9,000 while if you look at the current market value I should have been given about $18,000 dollars. So definitely I am not pleased with this,” he told Reuters Africa Journal.
In Kigali most people live below the poverty line. As much as residents welcome the new improvements, many worry that Vision 2020 is being implemented at their expense.
As resident Mbonigabo Emmanuel observed: “There is a lot of money in this country but it’s like they are hiding it from us.”