Rehousing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Project Kigali, Rwanda


Amount Raised


Total Investors

Project Overview

The project intends to build approximately 9 blocks in the Mpazi area to host 1100-1500 households and provide additional developable land to involve private investments in partnership with the Government of Rwanda, and build additional residential units to sell and rent, as well as commercial areas. The City of Kigali has secured the funds for the first 4 building blocks. The first demonstration block provided 26 units of difference sizes, and the 3 additional blocks, currently under development, would provide 78 additional units, capable of housing previous residents and generating a surplus, by the end of the year. The upgrading project is integrated with the RUDPII program (World Bank funds), which aims at developing and improving access to basic services. It also promotes a program of capacity building and skills development in the construction sector, to increase the opportunity for job creations and economic development of the neighbourhood.


  • Affordable Housing
  • Informal Settlements Upgrading
Funding Goal


  • To upgrade unplanned settlements of Mpazi sub-catchment area by providing low-cost affordable & adequate housing /homes to low-middle income households who are very prone to high risk of disasters. Encouraging in-situ rehousing upgrading approach, which avoids relocation of the community households and preserve the social cohesion and the neighbourhood identity.
  • To implement Kigali Master Plan, by establishing a coherent urban structure and fostering adequate densification and mixed land uses in unplanned settlements. Strengthening the capacity and resources of the City of Kigali in managing upgrading projects. To establish a structured and replicable procedure for Kigali urban upgrading project,
  • To improve life conditions and access to infrastructure, in coordination with Rwanda Urban Upgrading Project II (RUDP II) implementation, funded by World Bank.
  • To encourage a participatory re-housing approach by engaging landowners to contribute using their property as collateral in an integrated land readjustment/rehousing process. Adopt community-driven approach, by involving the community in the co-design of the layout of the neighbourhood, common spaces, and units’ typologies, and establishing an agreed procedure for relocation and housing assignment, with special attention to the participation of women and girls, and vulnerable groups.
  • To establish a community-managed fund.
  • To implement climate adaptation solutions in urban areas, by using local materials, efficient construction technique, and climate-responsive planning and housing design. Raising the capacities of residents for effective climate resilience at community level.
  • To develop a sustainable financial model to replicate the process, and establish a “Kigali Redevelopment Agency” which leads and manage the process, and explore the opportunity of maximizing land value in promoting urban upgrading and rehousing project.
  • To cope with the COVID-19 situation, promoting healthy density, planned settlement, with appropriate space for green public uses and movements, with adequate housing standards and communal spaces.

Progress Tracker


  • Phase 1

    Proof of Concept
    Expected Start Date: 2016/03/01
    Expected End Date: 2019/12/31
    Brief Description:
    In an area affected by flooding and hazards, the City of Kigali (COK) has selected a group of plots, with precarious housing units, built in poor materials and low standards, to test a re-housing process. 3 plots have been selected, grouped, and owners engaged from the beginning of the process, to provide their lands in exchange of a new unit, rebuilt in an 8-in-1 Affordable Housing Unit.

  • Phase 2

    Preparatory Studies
    Expected Start Date: 2020/01/10
    Expected End Date: 2021/12/31
    Brief Description:
    The Feasibility Study for the entire sub-catchment area has been conducted, which intended to serve as a roadmap for upgrading informal settlements by using community participatory approach in planning and implementation, and by replicating the low cost affordable model house, developed by SKAT.
    Other studies and analysis have been conducted to collect detailed information of the target area of 4ha, namely: a Socio-Economic Survey, which contributed to the compilation of the 232 households database, and survey Report, the ESIA, which was approved, a topographic LIDAR survey, a concept master plan for the entire neighbourhood, a geotechnical analysis targeting the construction area for the first blocks.
    In 2020, the building permit for the first block was issued, while for the next blocks the process is ongoing. In February 2021, the project was approved by the City of Kigali Council Resolution.
    In September 2020, a MoU between CoK and SKAT was signed to partner in implementing the rehousing project in three areas of Kigali City. The community engagement process was kick-started in October, organizing a public meeting to raise awareness on the project objectives and expected outcomes.
    In 2020, the COK has launched also a program for the upgrading of three unplanned settlements in Kigali, – RUDPII, supported by World Bank funds. One of the area impacted by RUDPII roads upgrading and drainage is the Mpazi sub-catchment area, which provides the opportunity to integrate the works for infrastructure upgrading with the rehousing project, and assess the possibility to compensate the PAP with re-housing in the neighborhood.

  • Phase 3

    Expected Start Date: 2021/01/02
    Expected End Date: 2022/06/31
    Brief Description:
    The consultation process continued to identify assets, expectations, and involved the beneficiaries in design the typologies and relocation plan occured. The community opinions and aspirations led to a refinement of the units’ design, resulted into a more efficient solution and land use, with a 26-in-1 building unit typology. A detailed assessment of properties value for the affected people has been conducted, with preparation of a Valuation Report for each property.
    In May 2021, the construction phase of the block #1 started, and it is now in completion phase. The process for the construction of block #2 and #3 started already, posing new challenges, as the buildings will lay on the slope of the hill. This layout entails the levelling of the terrain and the construction of retaining walls, and refining the design and costs of construction, which was impacted also by COVID19 spread. The three blocks will be completed by March 2022, for a total number of 78 units on about 0,5ha of land, and with an approximately cost of 1,5 MIL$. The units’ allocation process should be finalised by April/May 2022.
    In this phase, the project has got the support of UN-HABITAT within the framework of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) identifying a local NGO to carry out the participatory planning, the community mobilization and capacity building in community-based management, and will help in engaging the residents in the co-design of the neighbourhood master plan, public facilities, and relocation plan at neighbourhood scale.

  • Phase 4

    Financial Feasibility Study
    Expected Start Date: 2022/01/02
    Expected End Date: 2022/12/31
    Brief Description:
    The neighbourhood master plan will be detailed, by refining the design with the outcome of the participatory process and the infrastructure layout, extending the geotechnical studies, and developing the phasing of the construction for the remaining areas. A Financial Feasibility study will be tendered to study the financial model to turn the rehousing project in a sustainable operation, which could engage the private sector in a fair and mutual partnership with the public. It will assess how the affordable-rehousing project could be sustained by private investments, and the enabling mechanisms to ensure a social and economic outcome to the process, balancing the interests of the public, the private, and the beneficiaries. It will look at the right governance to envision a multi-stakeholders approach and sustainable operationalisation, benchmarking with international best practices, studying different mechanisms to capture the investment returns and generate cash flow. A public entity that will implement business mechanisms, studying the effective participation of the local sector, cooperatives, and citizens in the management, integrating the repayment measures with the taxation system.
    It will encourage a multiple interaction with different actors to ensure the financial model is applicable in the long term, and assess the risks of the management, proposing mitigation measures adapted to the context. It will analyse the requirements to establish a management structure (SPV). Finally, the Feasibility Study will be presented to the key stakeholders, to discuss the mechanisms and collect the inputs to refine the strategy and get government approval and support, before starting the next phase.

  • Phase 5

    Establishment of the SPV – Kigali Redevelopment Agency
    Expected Start Date: 2022/07/01
    Expected End Date: 2023/06/30
    Brief Description:
    In this phase, the management structure, which could be called “Kigali Redevelopment Agency”, will be established under the responsible institution, according to the outcome of the approved Feasibility Financial Strategy. The Agency Office will be established, equipped, and staff recruited, with a Team composed by a Director, Deputy Director, planner, economist, lawyer, and technical staff to accompany the process from the tendering of the investments packages to contracting of the firms, and the supervising of the works. It will propose a set of procedures to tender the investment packages and the construction phase.
    In an interim set-up, before its full operationalization, the responsibilities and tasks could be shared with the City of Kigali, for example, in preparing the documents to tender the investment packages. The Office will interact with multiple actors: the public, the private, the local sectors, and the donors and multi-lateral agencies and development banks.

  • Phase 6

    Investment Packages tendering
    Expected Start Date: 2023/01/02
    Expected End Date: 2023/12/30
    Brief Description:
    In this phase, the management structure will launch the tenders to identify the implementing partners for the different packages, according to the phasing proposed in the Financial Feasibility Strategy. The tenders may vary in nature, outcomes, and expected potential investors. An advertisement process will be followed by opening of the tenders, the evaluation, according to the criteria set in the tender, and the identification of the appropriate partners. The contract negotiation and signature will be finalised in this phase.
    The SPV will manage this process and be responsible of the procedures.

  • Phase 7

    Expected Start Date: 2022/06/30
    Expected End Date: 2026/12/30
    Brief Description:
    The implementation of the project and blocks construction phase, started in the 2021 (See Phase #3), will continue with government/public resources in 2022 and onwards, meanwhile the Financial Feasibility Study will be conducted, developed, and approved. Once the SPV will be established, and the investment packages tendered and assigned, the construction phases will continue through blended financed mechanisms, following the phasing and the nature of the terrain, from wetland to up-hill areas.
    The final layout should accommodate approximately 9 blocks, including the 3 under construction, with sufficient space to develop infrastructure and roads, according to the RUDPII project, providing public green spaces and small public services, allocating groundfloors of identified areas to commercial spaces, shops, bars, and retails. The final layout is building a “26-in-1” unit block, with a projected population of 110 people per block. The rest of the land will be developed with the engagement of the private sector, to accommodate the target population, providing residential units and commercial spaces, in line with the principle of a sustainable and affordable housing planning approach

Current Stage

Phase 3; Piloting


Project Milestones

COK secured funding and undertook construction for the first 3 building blocks.

ESG Impact

  • The project will generate opportunities for economic development during the construction phase, as well during the operational phase. During the construction phase, the local workers will be trained in the construction techniques and building system, with the Training of Trainers approach. The trained workers will benefit in the short term by being hired during the construction phase. They will also benefit in the long term, with enhanced skills and technical capacities, opening new jobs and opportunities of employment in the next phases of construction and other building projects.
  • The economic development of the neighbourhood and the community will be facilitated also by the construction of housing building with ‘active’ ground floor, with spaces to establish small business activities, shops, commercial retails, and restaurant, in identified areas, as per Zoning Regulations (R2) and detailed land use plan. The project is planning to locate a local market, which will promote job opportunities for the residents. Opportunities for green jobs creation will be facilitated by the development of green open spaces, common spaces, and facilities, designed during the community planning workshops.
  • The urban regeneration project will increase the quality of the entire neighbourhood and surrounding areas, with increasing in the land value, and expecting direct and indirect economic benefits from the urban development process, and increased government revenue generation.
  • Further, the housing building construction system is adopting green technologies, for water harvesting, energy saving, and green areas provision. It also uses local building materials for local production of bricks, contributing to the achievement of mitigation measures to mitigate climate change impacts.
  • The social cohesion of the neighbourhood will be enhanced by the intense community engagement and participatory framework, which will be boosted by the support of the PSUP UN-Habitat programme. The engagement of the community since the early stage of the project, the establishment of a Project Steering Committee, including the representatives of the community, will ensure the safeguard of the neighbourhood identity and social networks.


The main beneficiaries are:

  • The current residents of a portion of the Mpazi sub-catchment area. The neighbourhood accommodates 232 plots, with a population that is estimated around 2200-2400 people, considering the results of the households survey.
  • The residents of the neighbourhood areas, which will be positively impacted by the development, the creation of public green spaces and services, as well from the improvement of the infrastructures, the drainage, and public lighting.
  • The entire area, and the city will benefit from the transformation of the unplanned settlement in a well-served, connected, safe, and with quality housing units in a well-planned neighbourhood, providing opportunities for new activities and increasing the quality of life and provision of services.
  • The City of Kigali in managing an upgrading project, applying participatory approach, and improving the internal capacities and skills, and becoming a replicable model for other cities in Rwanda.

SDG Goals

SDG 1: No PovertySDG 2: Zero HungerSDG 3: Good Health and Well-beingSDG 4: Quality EducationSDG 5: Gender EqualitySDG 6: Clean Water and SanitationSDG 7: Affordable and Clean EnergySDG 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthSDG 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureSDG 10: Reduced InequalitySDG 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesSDG 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionSDG 13: Climate ActionSDG 14: Life Below WaterSDG 15: Life on LandSDG 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsSDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goals


SDG 11: By providing adequate and affordable housing for the residents of the informal settlement. By adopting integrated policies and plans, and encouraging sustainable and resillient planning.

SDG 13: By building resilient and sustainable housing units, implementing an efficient building construction, use of local materials, and strengthening the resilience capacity to climate hazards and risks  Implementing adaptation solutions in urban areas, and raising capacities of residents for effective climate-change-related planning.

SDG 5: By implementing participatory mechanisms to ensure full engagement of girls and women residents in the neighbourhood, co-designing open green areas, communal and care-giving spaces, and housing units’ layout.

SDG 6: The project will benefit from the support of the Rwanda Urban Development Project II, funded by World Bank to improve the infrastructure network, including sanitation and drainage, and adopting rain water harvesting solutions.


Track 1

Risks and Limitations

What are the key risks, constraints and dependencies related to the project?

Risk 1: Intermittent/lack of support and participation of the beneficiaries and residents. The lack of support and full engagement of the owners, tenants, and residents create a risk if it is not continuous and not reflect a trusted relationship between residents and COK.

Risk 2: Gentrification. The risk is related to disruption of the social cohesion, identity, and solid social networks which constitute the social fabric of the neighborhood. A shift in the housing offer and living standards, and in the affordability of the living conditions in the area, may impact the existing framework, pushing the residents, especially the tenants, which cannot afford the new set up to move into another area. Further, there is a legal framework gap, which cannot impose a public rent control to the private ownerships.

Risk 3: Lack of institutional support. A change in the local leadership in 2024 could affect the interest and support to the project.

Risk 4: Unsustainable financial mechanisms. The value of land is low, comparing to the costs of construction and the financial plan might fail. The project might lack of real interest to attract private developers. Shifting from public investment project to blended finance (public/private) in housing and upgrading sector, by establishing new financial mechanisms to engage private sector, is a new process in the country.

Risk mitigation and continuity

  • Ongoing Consultations Plan and individual meetings are ensuring full support, engagement and ownership along the project duration. PSUP (UN-HABITAT) support to establish a structured participatory framework, to engage the community in planning the neighborhood layout, public spaces, and Community Managed Fund will mitigate this risk.
  • Community engagement and participatory planning approach ensuring full endorsement and tailoring the solutions to the needs and context. PSUP support to engage the community to establish a community managed fund, and train to manage community-driven services. COK is committed to ensure relocation of residents, owners and tenants. To mitigate the legal framework gap to control the rental rates, the COK is trying to add this condition in the Agreements with the owners. The CoK will further work at institutional and regulatory level, to establish public measures to control the rents and the market.
  • The change of mayor will not affect the project implementation, as it has full support at government level and internationally. The current president will stay in charge until 2024. In case of new president, the project will be in the construction phase, with a financial mechanism in place, and should not be affected by the government’s change
  • Development of a solid and quality Feasibility Financial Strategy, approved and supported by government. At a national level the project has full endorsement and support, and there is strong willingness to accomplish it and scale it up The interest at international level is growing, as an experimental, innovative upgrading through rehousing project. Donor interest and funds are most likely to be available to co-finance the next phases.


Funding Goal


Type of Investment


Financing Structure

Public-Private Partnership

Secured Investment


Committed Government Funding


Committed Private Funding



Technical Support Required

Community mobilization and capacity building in the Participatory Slum Upgrading Program (PSUP) UN-Habitat program, Her City Toolbox integration


Governmental Buy-in

City of Kigali (COK)

Other Forms of Governmental Support


National Ministries Involved

Ministry of Infrastructure
Ministry of Local Government
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
SubNational Ministries Involved

SubNational Ministries Involved


Other Entities Involved

Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (Loda)

Licenses and Permits

Construction Permit Model House Status: Obtained Construction Permit issued for the Model House building Permit/License: City Council approval


Supporting Documents

No supporting documents included.