Central Business District, Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Gail Wilson

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.


Rwanda’s has made remarkable all-round progress over the last 25 years. This is usually attributed to a determined national government under single-minded leadership. This paper draws attention to two local drivers of Rwanda’s socio-economic development: community participation and a positive approach to urbanisation.

Popular involvement in communal projects has helped to build and maintain many useful public facilities. It has also fostered social solidarity and dialogue between citizens and public officials. The positive urban policy has helped to create more efficient and liveable cities, which are driving economic prosperity and human development.

Nevertheless, there is scope for greater consistency and alignment between top-down and bottom-up processes in order to improve the suitability and responsiveness of national policies and practices to grassroots realities.

Turok, I. (2019). Cities as platforms for progress: Local drivers of Rwanda’s success. Local Economy34(3), 221–227. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269094219852600