Nduwayezu G, Manirakiza V, Mugabe L, Malonza JM. Urban Growth and Land Use/Land Cover Changes in the Post-Genocide Period, Kigali, Rwanda. Environment and Urbanization ASIA. March 2021. DOI: 10.1177/0975425321997971


Kigali is a rapidly growing city, as exemplified by the phenomenal increase of its inhabitants from 358,200 in 1996 to 1,630,657 in 2017. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of detailed analytical information about the processes and factors driving unprecedented urban growth in the period following the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi (1994) and its impact on the natural environment. This article, therefore, analyses the growth of the city of Kigali with respect to its post-genocide spatial and demographic dimensions.

The methodology involves a quantification of urban growth over the period of the last 30 years using remote-sensing imagery coupled with demographic data drawn from different sources.

The analysis of land cover trends shows how significant the pressure of urban expansion has been on the natural environment, with a 14 per cent decrease in open land between 1999 and 2018. Spatially, the average annual growth rate was almost 10.24 per cent during the same period.

This growth is associated with the building of a large number of institutions, schools and industries. Moreover, the increase in low-income residents led to the construction of bungalows expanding on large suburbs and the development of new sub-centres in the periphery instead of high-rise apartments.