Reference: Baffoe G, Ahmad S, Bhandari R. The road to sustainable Kigali: A contextualized analysis of the challenges. Cities. 2020;105:102838.

Abstract: Rwanda, despite being a predominantly rural country, has remarkably performed in the post-conflict (late 1990s) period on the socio-economic fronts. Contemporary challenges in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, are widespread informality, both in the economy and urban built environment. Informality significantly hinders human health and wellbeing attainment.

This paper assesses the development trajectory of Kigali with reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using mixed research methods, including field visit. In doing so, the study dwells on three theories; postcolonial urbanism, post-conflict state building and neoliberalism.

The paper diagnoses informality, polarized health sector and governance, as critical limitations to the attainment of sustainable development in Kigali. It argues that urban development in post-conflict Kigali is deeply rooted in capitalist and neoliberal ideology, where the state functions as the architect and facilitator of wealth accumulation for the few elites.

Based on the analyses of the current development patterns, inclusive governance is identified as a key intervention to achieve sustainable development in Kigali.