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Kigali, 17 Jan 12

Dr. Clos with President Kagame © UN-HABITAT

The Government of Rwanda and UN-Habitat will start work in coming weeks on a series of pilot projects to tackle growing urbanization confronting the country in recent years.

The announcement was made after President Paul Kagame of Rwanda this week received UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, to discuss future collaboration and projects dealing with sustainable urban development policies. Both agreed on the priority of having a national urban policy for one of the most densely populated and least urbanized countries in Africa.

Between 1991 and 2002, the urban population growth in Rwanda increased three times, growing from 5.5% to 17%. The Government of Rwanda foresees that 30 % of the Rwandan population will be living in urban areas by 2020.

After the meeting with President Kagame, Dr. Clos expressed "the willingness of UN-Habitat to work together with the Rwandan authorities on future city enlargement plans, urban planning for intermediate cities and urban capacity building in order to develop new projects of cooperation to take advantage of the process of urbanization to create wealth and increase the quality of life of citizens". UN-Habitat Executive Director said that "on my first visit to Kigali, I have to congratulate the country for the quality of the public space of their capital. UN-Habitat wants to share Rwanda's experiences and to explain their best practices to other parts of the world".

The Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Albert Nsengiyumva, told a press conference after the meeting: "UN-Habitat is a strategic and important partner for Rwanda due to its expertise and their international network. Rwanda should prioritize urban issues and work on the implementation of master plans, not only for Kigali but also for existing emerging towns."

Dr. Clos was accompanied to the meeting with President Kagame by Dr. Aisa Kirabo, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director; the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Aurelien A. Agbenonci, and the Director of UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Africa, Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher.

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