First Utafiti Sera Forum Report on Urban Governance and City Transformation: The Case of Kigali, Rwanda
20 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2018
Date Written: June 3, 2018
The First Utafiti Sera Stakeholders’ Forum on Urban Governance in Kigali was held on January 18, 2018 in Marasa Umubano Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda. The forum brought together 40 stakeholders from local, national and international institutions concerned with research, urban governance and transformation, and policymaking (see list of participants in Annex 2). The aim was to introduce Utafiti Sera to the stakeholders in the urban governance in Rwanda, to constitute an Utafiti Sera house and to determine key areas of focus under the Project “Utafiti Sera on Urban Governance and City Transformation: The Case of Rwanda”. The project is being implemented by IPAR-Rwanda in partnership with PASGR.
Ms Kayitesi, Executive Director of IPAR-Rwanda and Prof. T. Aina, PASGR’s Executive Director gave welcoming remarks, with a brief overview of IPAR Rwanda and PASGR respectively. Ms Kayitesi further highlighted the objectives of the project, noting that the project marked an important beginning of a partnership with PASGR and other stakeholders in contributing to a better Kigali City.
Dr Martin Atela, PASGR’s, Research Uptake & Policy Engagement Manager presented on the ‘concept of Utafiti Sera’, highlighting the links between evidence and policymaking. Dr Atela noted that policymakers faced numerous challenges such as complete lack of access to evidence, poor packaging, and inappropriate evidence among other issues, all which inhibited policymakers from using evidence in their policy work. He noted that PASGR’s Utafiti Sera is aimed at addressing these challenges bridging the gap existing between policymakers and researchers.
Dr Aime Tsinda, IPAR’s Senior Research Fellow, provided a framework for the Kigali Urban Governance Utafiti Sera House’s activities, including highlighting the specific objectives of the house namely: i. To map the key stakeholders in the area of urban governance in Kigali; ii. To synthesis the evidence in existing studies on urban governance in Rwanda; and iii. To organise forums on urban governance in Kigali based on research evidence generated from the synthesis in objective (ii) above and other evidence presented in the house in order to guide policy and programme action.
Finally, Dr Tsinda outlined the three major objectives of the initial forum as follows: i. To introduce Utafiti Sera to the stakeholders in the urban governance in Rwanda and constitute an Utafiti Sera house; ii. To identify the focus areas on urban governance and city transformation in Rwanda based on the views of stakeholders and research evidence; iii. To agree on key areas of focus to be discussed in subsequent forums on urban governance.
The presentations were followed by lively discussions in a plenary session that generated valuable contributions from a wide range of participants as detailed in this report. The forum identified the following action points: i. To conduct a study on the performance of One Stop Centres; ii. To adopt a multi-sectoral approach to urban governance and city transformation; iii. To carry out a comprehensive analysis of what is referred to as ‘affordable housing’; iv. To identify the causes of lack of compliance with master plans by the citizens; v. To identify appropriate and sustainable strategies for waste management in secondary cities; vi. To devise strategies to improve institutional coordination and implementation mechanisms for urban governance and city transformation; vii. To adopt strategies for leveraging people’s voices about urban governance and city transformation in a multilingual and multicultural society like Rwanda; viii. To explore advantages and disadvantages of the Smart City Project, and ix. To measure the level of understanding and awareness of the citizens on urban governance and city transformation mechanisms.
From the above recommendations, the following five key areas were selected to guide activities planned in the upcoming forums: i. Study of socio-cultural aspects of housing; ii. Incentivising the private sector to invest in affordable housing; iii. Impact of poor waste management on public health; iv. Impact of urbanisation on food security; v. Putting in place efficient and cost effective public transport system in urban areas.
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