Kigali’s wetland rehabilitation project set to generate over 100,000 green jobs

An artist’s impression of Rwintare wetland that is about to be revamped. The revitalization of five degraded wetlands in Kigali is expected to create 112,800 green employment opportunities.

The revitalization of five deteriorated wetlands within the City of Kigali is poised to create 112,800 green employment opportunities, it has emerged.

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During a talk show on the national broadcaster on Tuesday, February 6, Faustin Munyazikwiye, the Deputy Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), outlined four primary objectives of the wetlands rehabilitation initiative.

These objectives encompass flood mitigation to address climate change effects, enhancement of wetlands biodiversity, improvement of water quality, and the beautification of the city’s landscape alongside the development of recreational facilities.

ALSO READ: Over 20 per cent of Kigali city wetlands need rehabilitation

The identified wetlands earmarked for restoration include Rwampara (65ha), Gikondo (162ha), Rugenge-Rwuntare (65ha), Kibumba (68ha), and Nyabugogo (131ha). These wetlands derive their names from the streams and rivers flowing through Kigali city across Gasabo, Nyarugenge, and Kicukiro districts.

According to REMA, the initial phase of wetlands rehabilitation is estimated to span 18 months, with one of the key interventions being the reintroduction of native tree species.

ALSO READ: How Rwanda is faring in wetlands restoration

The decision to rehabilitate these five wetlands follows the successful completion of the Nyandungu Eco-tourism Park. The repurposed wetlands are envisioned to serve as recreational hubs akin to the Nyandungu Urban Wetland Eco-tourism Park.The establishment of Nyandungu Ecotourism Park has already generated over 4,000 green jobs and attracts approximately 6,000 visitors monthly.

ALSO READ: Nyandungu Eco-Park gets management, opens to public

Furthermore, the restoration efforts have led to the return of nearly 200 bird species to the Nyandungu Wetland Eco-tourism Park, reversing migration spurred by wetland degradation.Jean Rubangutsangabo, an Urban Economist of the City of Kigali, emphasized the necessity of collaborative efforts to steer Kigali city’s future, underscoring the vital role of political will in environmental conservation and wetlands preservation.The rehabilitation of the five degraded wetlands in Kigali is expected to directly and indirectly benefit 220,500 individuals residing in flood-prone regions, mitigating the risk of water crises exacerbated by wetlands degradation and pollution, which have significantly compromised water quality and availability.The rehabilitated wetlands are poised to provide essential ecosystem services, safeguarding water supply infrastructures and preventing the silting of water bodies.Outlined in the Kigali City Wetland Master Plan, 3,888 hectares are designated for conservation purposes, while an additional 3,851 hectares are allocated for sustainable utilization. The remaining 1,421 hectares are earmarked for tourism and recreational activities.

 

Michel Nkurunziza / The Newtimes

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