Construction works to upgrade roads in the City of Kigali ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) stated this week.
Dr Ernest Nsabimana, the city Vice Mayor in charge of Urbanisation and Infrastructure, told The New Times that Rwf14 billion has been earmarked to be spent on road projects expected to be completed by the end April 2020.
“That is the budget for construction of roads and junctions alone. However, more money is expected to be spent on street lighting and painting,” he said.
The activities will see an upgrade on the Kabeza-Alpha Palace, Nyabisindu-Nyarutarama roads as well as the road from Gasabo District head office to Migina, and Kigali Conventional Centre-Kimihurura-Rwandex road.
Workers at the and Kigali Conventional Centre-Kimihurura-Rwandex road on September 25, 2019. Emmanuel Kwizera.
Meanwhile, four junctions, including Sonatube, Giporoso, Gisimenti and Kimironko are expected to get a facelift.
Pudence Rubingisa, the City Mayor, told The New Times the upgrades are aimed at avoiding traffic jam during CHOGM.
“We are borrowing this practice from the mayor meetings we hosted in the past,” he said. “Considering that this one is going to be bigger, it requires a lot of preparation in the form of putting in place some specific infrastructure.”
In addition to the upgrades on the roads, the mayor said, the city was working on improving the quality of service delivery in the hospitality industry to cater for the high number of delegates that is expected.
While officially inviting world leaders to CHOGM2020, which is due to take place in June, President Paul Kagame said it will be a great pleasure to welcome the delegates in Kigali.
In a video message, President Paul Kagame and Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland announced that CHOGM 2020 will be held at the Kigali Convention Centre during the week starting June 22, around the theme ‘Delivering A Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’.
Kagame made a strong case for including the youth in economic transformation across the world.
“There is no way we can see our young people as a liability. For a very clear reason, they are a huge asset and opportunity. Seeing them as liability would be a failure on our part,” he reiterated.
According to Secretary-General Scotland, “By connecting, innovating and transforming, the Commonwealth opens up scope for mobilising the talent of people of all ages and backgrounds.”
Preparations are underway across different sectors as the country gets ready to host meeting, for the first time, the biennial summit of the heads of government from 53 nations most of which are former British colonialists.
Rwanda joined the bloc in 2009, becoming only the second member to be admitted into the commonwealth club of nations without any direct colonial ties to Britain, after Mozambique.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rwanda is preparing to receive up to 10,000 guests during the meeting.
The Heads of State and Government will discuss among others, security, development challenges, climate change and the commitment to upholding the Commonwealth Charter, according to information from the organisation.