Residents of Rutsiro District in Western Rwanda began jubilating earlier this week when construction works of a 70km tarmac road kicked off.
Of all the thirty districts in the country, only Rutsiro lacked a paved road. The roads in the district are marrum, they turn muddy in rainy season and dusty in the dry season.
“The previous government had discriminated against our region. The new road will improve trade between our district and neighbouring DR Congo,” says Emmanuel Barigira, a resident of Kivumu sector of Rutsiro District.
The government has contracted Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Co, ltd, a Chinese construction company to build the 70 kilometer Karongi-Rutsiro-Rubavu road within 26 months.
Construction of the $50 million road has already started, but company managers toldKTPress, the budget is under review and may be increased by expropriation costs.
Like many parts of the country, Rutsiro is largely a hilly farming area and offers various touristic attractions.
“We are home to the best coffee of the country, the Kinunu coffee, but we have been challenged by lack of roads to transport our produce,” Innocent Gakuru, Vice Mayor for Economic Affairs in Rutsiro District told KTPress.
Rutsiro also has vast eucalyptus forests, it is a stock of charcoal and timber that serve Kigali, Rubavu and Musanze cities throughout the year.
Importantly, Rutsiro stretches on the shore of the most touristic Lake Kivu, but no venture has yet been attracted hospitality investors.
Gakuru believes, “hoteliers will follow this road.”
The road connects several public institutions including sector offices, schools and health centers.
Rwanda Transport Development Authority(RTDA) says the country has 25 roads totaling 2743.835 kilometers classified as national; and 56% (1,537.984 kilometers) are not yet paved.