Kigali’s resilience journey

Once the site of devastating sectarian violence, Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, has made significant strides in the last two decades. As the national economy has continued to grow, so has Kigali’s population.

However, the city’s infrastructure development has not kept pace in areas such as sanitation, energy, and roads, increasing the risk of epidemic disease, energy shortages, and economic turmoil. Periodic flooding continues to pose a threat to public health, businesses, and agriculture. In response, the city has begun providing civic education about disaster management.

Overpopulation in some areas of Kigali has led to informal settlements that severely tax the city’s infrastructure. A 2012 study on affordable housing has led to ongoing projects to increase Kigali’s housing stock. Additionally, the city has been budgeting more resources to construct, rehabilitate, and maintain its roads.

Meet the Chief Resilience Officer

Japheth Habinshuti

Chief Resilience Officer

Japheth Habinshuti brings to the CRO role a deep knowledge of land use and urban resilience planning, resource mobilization and business development, and development-oriented research. Before his current role as CRO for Kigali, he worked as a senior infrastructure development planner for African Innovators for Smart Civil Engineering Services (AFRISCES Ltd.), a local consulting firm focusing on urban physical infrastructure design in Kigali.

Japheth also worked for UNESCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo as an international consultant between 2016 and 2017. In addition to coordinating and raising the visibility of a natural sciences program, he has contributed to the elaboration of UNESCO country strategy in the DRC in the period 2018–2021. Japheth’s work has included building diversified and climate-resilient livelihoods for households in and adjacent to Biosphere Reserves in the DRC, and strengthening institutional capacity for governance and management of those BRs.

He has nearly four years’ experience at the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority as a land use monitoring and evaluation professional. In this role, he made a significant contribution to improving land use planning and management, by monitoring land use practices across the whole country, and by building the technical capacity of districts’ land bureaus for elaborating their district land use plans.

Japheth holds a joint MSc in Regional Development Planning and Management from the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany) and the Austral University of Chile (Chile), and a BSc in Engineering and Environmental Technology from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (now the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology). He has served as a member of the Rwanda Urban Planning Institute since 2018.

Impact stories