The city of Kigali launches a new operation against undeveloped land | The new times
Kigali city authorities said they had embarked on a new exercise to identify plots of land in the city’s suburbs that have not been developed, warning that the law will take its course for those who will be found guilty.
The 2013 law governing land use in Rwanda provides for the confiscation of land in urban areas for which a detailed physical plan has been approved by the competent authorities, but which remains unused for three consecutive years.
Once confiscated, the property is sold to competent developers through an auction, and the proceeds are returned to the owner of the property.
According to Marie-Solange Muhirwa, the city’s chief urban planner, during an inspection that was carried out in 2020, up to 696 urban housing plots were found undeveloped.
“We interacted with the owners and advised them to start developing them. Some have started, but others have not. For those who haven’t, the law will be enforced,” she said.
She added that they have started a new exercise to identify all undeveloped plots in the city.
During a press conference on Wednesday, August 3, Mayor Pudence Rubingisa noted that undeveloped land or stalled construction projects affect the city’s development plans.
Speaking specifically of undeveloped land, he noted that it is possible for some landowners to be “speculative” buying land with no real intention of developing it, but instead aiming to resell it for a better price after some time.
“You find that a particular piece of land is not developed but rather keeps changing hands from person to person. With this, we are not achieving the development that we want,” he noted .
In addition to aiming to encourage investment, the government’s efforts to repossess surplus property aim to keep neighborhoods safe.
Indeed, abandoned property such as unfinished buildings or brushy land can be used as hiding places for people who wish to engage in criminal activity.
Some of the failed projects that the city authorities will soon face are the Kigarama market in Kicukiro and downtown Amarembo, a commercial area that was proposed to be built in the CBD five years ago but which has failed. is not materialized.
This will not be the first time that the City of Kigali will act on undeveloped land and blocked projects.
In 2020, for example, city authorities announced that they had repossessed some 58 private properties, including land and unfinished construction projects, citing delays in their development.
Among the properties that were affected at the time was Century Park Estate, a project located in Nyarutarama, consisting of a hotel, luxury villas and high-end apartments. It is unclear, however, if the property was sold at auction or if the developer was granted a reprieve.
In addition to repossessing and auctioning properties, the city government uses alternative measures, including connecting owners with potential buyers ready to buy and immediately proceed with development.