Authorities move to enforce land use regulations in urban and rural areas

Thursday October 01 2020

Government is mulling investing in satellite imagery technology to check rampant deviation of land use. PHOTO | Cyril Ndegeya


The government is mulling investing in satellite imagery technology to check rampant deviation of land use from masterplan in urban and rural areas.

The new system is understood to be under development jointly by the land use authority, housing regulator and the national institute of statistics with a view of rolling it out as soon as districts detailed land use plans development are completed.

Two successive land use audit reports carried out over the past five years have flagged massive and uncontrolled losses of land to urbanisation that saw current urban boundaries expand by 10 times the size designated under the 2011 national land use plan.

In particular, the 2018-2019 urban land use audit report released last month points to continuous sprawl expansions, highly consuming land in almost all Districts except Burera, Gatsibo, Gisagara and Kirehe.

As a result, the Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA) indicates that the government has had to accommodate newly emerged sprawl settlements around Kigali under “Satellites Cities”.

Besides, officials indicate that the design of the new national land use master plan has had to not only ensure that, where applicable, lost land space is recovered from undeveloped residential sites, but also devise mechanisms to stern any future deviation.


“We are changing our data collection methodology to make sure that we employ ICT to help us have real-time information using spatial data and integrated land use monitoring systems.

The system is designed in such that it will alert us of any change in land use taking place in any part of the country. It took a year or two to carry out an audit based on sampling, and that was comprehensive,” Alexis Rutagengwa, Head of Surveying, Land Use and Mapping Department at RLMUA, told Rwanda Today.

Issues linked to the inefficient monitoring system, coupled with the lack of Urban planning implementation capacity by the City of Kigali and districts’ authorities were singled out to be the factors behind an acceleration of uncontrolled settlements.