Photograph — AFRICA ON THE RISE.

Africa’s first Green City worth $4.5 billion is set to launch in Rwanda with the development of the project starting in January 2020. The city has been sited on a land area of about 620 hectares in Kinyinya, Gasabo District in Kigali. 

The Green City which aims to promote environmentally-friendly facilities will consist of electric cars, green buildings, electric bicycles, and utilize renewable energy amongst others. The City is designed to serve about 150,000 people in 30,000 housing units. 

Deputy Team Leader of the Green City Project, Eudes Kayumba disclosed that the city will be built to incorporate clean technologies, motorcycle lanes, sustainable waste treatment, biogas plants, and urban forests, as well as a system that prevents environmental degradation and air pollution.

With the Green City project, Rwanda is looking to further consolidate its position as the African capital for green living. With the launch of its fully automated electric cars, monthly compulsory community sanitation and the banning of all non-biodegradable plastics, Rwanda is set to have a Green City. 

Green Cities all over the world are known to provide environmental, socio-economic and health benefits. One of the major benefits of a Green City is the reduction of air pollution, especially carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. With the absence of non-electronic vehicles and industries which emit carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions, and methane, the quality of life amongst the inhabitants is encouraged in a green city.

Similarly, a green city generates clean air and increases the health and total well-being of its inhabitants, as air purification solutions are meant. In the Netherlands for instance, researchers show that people are healthier when their living environment is greener. 

Also, Green Cities such as Copenhagen (Denmark), Amsterdam (Netherlands), San Francisco (California), Vancouver (Canada) amongst others are known to have enhanced productivity, innovation, clean energy, and sustainable development. 

Recently, Kenya is seeking to embrace the eco-friendly culture by reducing congestion and fuel emission through non-motorized traffic (NMT) and promotes the use of bicycles and walking. According to the National Transport Safety Authority, about 90,000 new vehicles are imported into Nairobi each year. 

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director said that many city dwellers waste valuable time and energy stuck in traffic jams. She believes that “Nairobi could become a very good city for cycling if safe infrastructure is provided.”

Sharif urged the Kenyan government to provide modern walkways, crossing facilities such as pedestrian walks and bridges because they promote walking and cycling. With the NMT policy well positioned, it will lead to a greener and less polluting environment for Kenyans.  

With Rwanda already paving the way, other African countries are encouraged to key into the Green City initiative as it will bring about a more eco-friendly environment, free from community-based greenhouse gas emissions leading to better economic productivity. 

By Treasure Nnabugwu.

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