This study analyses the spatial expansion of Kigali city, the neighbourhood patterns and key urban characteristics that impact its citizens.

It explores evidence on (i) city growth and land-cover change, (ii) demographic, socioeconomic and environmental attributes, (iii) neighbourhood types and socio-spatial categorisation, and (iv) education and health services.

Key findings:
  • Kigali has experienced significant demographic and spatial growth in the last 20 to 30 years, which has largely been driven by internal migration and natural increases in the population. Built-up areas of the city have increased from 25km2 to 115 km². However, rapid and uncontrolled urbanisation is causing a decline in adequate housing.
  • The study identified 130 neighbourhoods, categorised into planned, mixed and unplanned neighbourhoods that reflect the socio-spatial profile and income group of residents. A fourth, mixed-use category was also identified.
  • Compared to a national rate in Rwanda of about US$720 per person per year, Kigali’s residents have relatively high household income per capita of more than US$1,000 per person per year. Poverty levels have decreased considerably over the last 10 years, employments rates have increased and over 70% of urban residents have access to basic amenities.
  • Kigali has responded positively to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, target 1, which calls for universal free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education. The city’s success can be attributed to the fee-free 12 basic education (12YBE) policy implemented since 2012. Investment in  infrastructure has improved access to health services in Kigali too. However, in both sectors, disparities are evident in terms of quality and
    service delivery based on socioeconomic groups.