8th IPAR-Rwanda Annual Research Conference

DATE : June 19-20, 2019

VENUE : - Park Inn Kigali

Conference Concept Note


Urbanisation is seen as a potential engine for productivity growth in Rwanda. With this respect the Country has set its urbanisation target to reach 35% by 2024, from 18.4% (2016/17). More urbanisationaims at increasing the socio-economic fabric through accrued vertical linkages and competition in the private sector, access to market, specialisation and diversification. It is also meant to boost structural transformation through movements of workers from less to more productive sectors, and especially from farm to off-farm activities. Urbanisation is hence expected to accelerate private-sector-led economic growth and increased productivity. Urbanisationis also expected to densify centres of excellence in various domains, including education, IT etc. and hence boost knowledge transfer among development actors of the country.

The 7 years Government programme 2017-2024 (NST-1), which is currently the leading strategic document for Rwanda’s development until 2024, identifies key strategic interventions to accelerate sustainable urbanisation. In the economic pillar, these include, but are not limited to, developing new master plans of the city of Kigali and the 6 secondary cities ; developing flagship projects in cities to support thriving and sustainable urban economies ; developing the “made in Rwanda” policy for local construction materials ; improving transportation services etc.Developing these key strategic interventions are expected to contribute to positive effects of increased urbanisation.

However, while urbanisation can boost economic growth, rural-urban migration may also bring challenges. Part of these challenges arerelated to the urban planning of growing cities, leading to housing and sanitation issues, among others. Access to safe water, development of affordable and sustainable housing, relocation of citizens living in high risk-zones are key practical issues, which will have to be taken into account into the development planning of the City of Kigali, the 6 secondary cities and other urban centres, in order for urbanisation to bring its expected gain.

International experiences have shown that urbanisation may well be accompanied by economic development and an increase in per capita income. This was mainly the case in East Asia in, among other countries : Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam. Conversely, many Sub-Saharan countries have experienced rapid urbanisation, which was accompanied by a decrease in per capita income. This was the case in Cameroon, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Togo and Zimbabwe. As Rwanda is making urbanisation one of its priority area for its development, there is a need to highlight findings from recent research undertaken on the subject in Rwanda, and for sharing experience from other countries.

It is against the timely and relevance of the subject for the Republic of Rwanda, that the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda) is organizing its 8th Annual conference around the topic : Urbanisation, Urban planning and Urban governance.

1. The conference

The conference will develop over 1 days to report on the findings of research in Rwanda on urbanisation, urban planning and urban governance.Additionally, the event aims to bring keynote speakers from other countries which Rwandan policy makers like to learn from as well as others from neighbouring African countries. The event will be opened by the Hon. Minister of Infrastructure and closed by United Nations Development Program Resident Representative (TBC).

The overall aim of the conference is to provide policy makers with the latest evidence on policies and programmes which can assist in achieving positive urbanisation outcomes, both from Rwanda as well as countries to which Rwanda looks or could look for inspiration. The key issues to be discussed will revolve around fostering economic growth rates through urbanisation, designing policies, social protection in urban centres, human development, transformational social, economic and environmental change through appropriate urban planning,urban governance and institutions.

Speakers will include key decision-makers and/or senior researchers from Rwanda and beyond. Presentations of foreign experiences of urbanisation will increase information shared with decision makers and enable evidence base policy making.
In preparation of a series of thematic workshops on Urbanisation, IPAR will organise a reference group meeting, reconvening a small group of Rwandan stakeholders which will accompany the thematic workshops in Rwanda. This group will make suggestions about the workshops topics, suggestions on who should be invited, and to what extent and how it should be open to the public and streamed online.
A call far paper is published in addition to this conference concept note.

2. Target audience

The conference is aimed to bring together primarily national policy makers, civil servants from the key development ministries and organisations, other stakeholders (CSOs, development partners, the media) and researchers to present and discuss how urbanisation, urban planning and urban governance can support the economic and social development of the Country.

At the same time, the event aims to shape and prioritise with the target audience the policy recommendations that could inform the future planning process in Rwanda and contribute to bring positive change to improve policy making in Rwanda.
While the audience is primarily Rwandan, potential speakers reporting on other countries’ experiences will bring an international dimension to the event in terms of content as well as participation.

3. Structure and Venue

The conference will revolve around one day of presentations and panel discussions. It will involve several speakers, some of which will deliver keynote presentations, as well as around 100 participants from academia, ministries and representatives from IPAR. A detailed agenda will be shared with participants closer to the event.
The event will be structured as follows :

Session 1 : Urbanisation and The City of Kigali

1. Opening statements
8.30 am-9 am
2. Keynote lecture (TBC)
9 am –9.30 am
3. Kigali City Master Plan (City of Kigali - TBC)
9.30 am – 10 am
4. Socio-Economic projections for the City of Kigali(IPAR-Rwanda)
10 am – 10.30 am
5. Coffee break
10.30 am– 11am
6. Affordable housing
11 am – 11.30 am
7. Panel discussion : The case of City of Kigali
11.30 am - 12.30 pm
8. Lunch
12.30pm - 2 pm

Session 2 : Urbanisation and Secondary cities

9. An overview of Secondary cities urbanisation (Rwanda Housing Authority – TBC)
2 pm – 2.30 pm
10. Socio-economic projections & Development phasing od Secondary cities (IPAR-Rwanda)
2.30 pm – 3 pm
11. Water tankers in Bangalore (Rajashekar – TBC)
3 pm – 3.30 pm
12. Critical WASH challenges in Rwanda (Abbot and Tsinda – TBC)
3.30 pm – 4 pm
13. Panel discussion : The case of Secondary cities
4 pm – 4.30 pm
14. Closing remarks
4.30 pm – 5 pm
15. Conference cocktail
5 pm – …

4. The Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda)

The Institute of Policy Analysis and Research- IPAR-Rwanda is the Rwanda’s leading independent think tank with a reputation for high quality, cutting edge research and policy publications. IPAR-Rwanda has been operational in a wide range of fields structured around five themes : 1)Agriculture, Rural Development and Settlements 2) Social Development ; 3) Governance, 4) Economic Growth and Transformation ; 5) Environment and Natural Resources Management.

IPAR-Rwanda became fully operational in May 2008. Since then, IPAR-Rwanda has successfully implemented several research projects, which has made its profile more outstanding. The fact that our offices are located in Kigali gives us a home base from which to work and provides us with adequate administrative and technical support.
IPAR staff has had wide consultancy and research experience internationally and have collaborated and consulted with institutions in Europe, America and many countries in Africa. Major IPAR partners are Government of Rwanda, Civil society, the private sector, development partners, universities and other Think Tanks regionally and internationally. We collaborate with major international organisations, including GIZ, USAID, DFID, World Bank, Action Aid Rwanda, UNDP, and World Vision among others.

Overall, the institute has worked well with private organisations, governmental and non- Governmental organisations in undertaking project assessments and developing monitoring and evaluation programs, strategic plans and resource mobilisation strategies. We also have a highly professional relationship with other think tanks in Africa as well as a competent and well-qualified team that is able to undertake any activity which falls within our mandate.