Creating a brighter and smarter future for Kigali

Opportunity 

Kigali’s first centralised sewerage system is driven by an ambitious city masterplan designed to position Kigali as a strategic hub for modern service industries in Africa. Rwanda’s rapid economic development and socio-political reform means that the institutional, economic and technical conditions surrounding engineering projects are complex and in a constant state of flux. 

Our experience makes us a trusted source for integrated feasibility analysis projects. This, combined with regular work with International Financial Institution clients allows us to translate the details of local context into actionable analysis, which directly addresses the priorities of ours clients. 

Collaboration

Atkins Acuity assembled a team of local and international experts to assess this context and provide focussed advice on material areas of risk as well as solutions to militate against them. These included:

  • Identifying gaps in Rwanda’s water and sanitation policy and legislation necessary to enable easements for land access to lay new wastewater pipes, clearly mandated and enforceable wastewater and effluent standards, and clarifications on the role of independent regulators and government ministries in wastewater planning and price setting. 
  • Working with the newly established utility to develop a staff-training program, assess the financial impact of the project, and explore tariff options for new sewerage services.
  • Highlighting potential technical challenges in connecting low-income areas of Kigali with intermittent water supplies, complex and dense housing patterns, and a lack of previous internal plumbing.
  • Conducting surveys and interviews in low-income areas to assess willingness to pay for, and the socio-economic impacts of, the introduction of wastewater services.

Achievement

Our ability to mobilise the right team meant that Atkins Acuity offered a bled of international and local expertise. We take care in selecting the right experts for the project. In additional to three experts, we coordinated inputs from Rwandan academic researchers and its own in-house GIS and technical design experts. We were able to understand the project in terms of desired outcomes rather than targets and deliverables. Where we saw significant risks or possible efficiency gains, we communicated these to our client. Examples in Kigali include our exploration of alternative areas for sewerage network coverage, and its combination with community lead sanitation programs.

Other achievements include: 

  • The identification of technical challenges involved in connecting dense, low-income areas of Kigali to a modern waterborne sewerage system, and our exploration of solutions based on shared communal sanitation facilities.
  • Our highlighting the potential benefits of extending the proposed service area of the sewerage network to regions of the city where economic benefits may be higher, and an accompanying preliminary analysis of those benefits.
  • Our delivery of willingness to pay studies which revealed affordability issues within the proposed area, and our subsequent analysis of financial solutions to addressing affordability through cross subsidies and step tariff systems.

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