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World Bank Group Supports an Improved Construction Permit System in Rwanda

January 1, 2012


A crane behind  the Union Trade Centre in Kigali, Rwanda

For Kigali-based architect Kefa Angwevi, growing his business sometimes took an unexpected turn. “Of all things, you had to cope with long delays to apply for a construction permit,” Kefa says. “You had to actually take blueprints and lots of paperwork to the administration. This was sometimes as challenging as growing your portfolio!”

Thanks to Kigali’s new online Construction Permit Management Information System (MIS)—implemented with the support of the World Bank Group’s Rwanda Investment Climate Program in partnership with Investment Climate Facility for Africa—Kefa’s challenges are now a thing of the past.

The new technology makes acquisition of construction permits faster, simpler, and easier by automating the procedures for application processing and review. In addition, it improves the management information provided to the Kigali’s construction one stop center and Department of Urban Planning.

The online system supports the entire process of client relations, assessment, construction administration, and other related permits issued by City of Kigali district offices. It enables applicants to monitor the status of their project applications. Where it took twelve procedures and more than a hundred days to get a construction permit approved, it now takes five procedures and a maximum of thirty days.

Sheila Rwangezi, a property developer, agrees with the system’s benefits. “I applied for two construction permits, one for a club house, which was approved within a month, and the other for villas, which was approved in two days. It is so much more convenient to know I can get every type of permit I want at the same location. This is truly an improvement from the past system,” she declared.

For the Rwandese authorities, the development of Kigali’s new construction permit system is a strategic milestone in many ways. “We have been working at streamlining construction permitting for years. The new system tremendously enhances service delivery, and so promotes and facilitates doing business for investors and other developers,” said Kigali Mayor Fidele Ndayisaba.

In addition to supporting the implementation, the World Bank Group also provided support and training to the City of Kigali staff in charge of providing construction permits.

“Kigali is a gateway to Rwanda. It is important that we keep up with the latest standards and this convenient and transparent system does just that,” added Minister of Infrastructure, Professor Silas Lwakabamba.