In just two decades, the "land of a thousand hills", as Rwanda is known for its picturesque mountain landscapes, has developed into one of the most stable and progressive countries in Africa, even though, apart from the capital Kigali, it is rather rural. Since the genocide of 1994, the darkest chapter of the East African state, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has ruled with an iron hand. He ran for the third time in 2017 and was overwhelmingly voted into office. His opponents accuse him of an autocratic government. His supporters, on the other hand, have led the country's spectacular economic development since the end of the genocide. Rwanda is now regarded as Africa's model state. The country is spotlessly clean and safe. The streets are modern, illuminated and developed. Rwanda's economy is growing at an annual rate of about six per cent. The state is investing in digital technologies and is already positioning itself among foreign investors as the future financial centre of East Africa, especially in Kigali. Rwanda's government programme aims to transform the low-income agricultural state completely into a modern, “knowledge-based, service-oriented economy with middle-income country status by 2020”. The government has set itself the goal of further promoting urbanisation in the country. Six more cities are to be developed into poles of growth by 2020.
Almost half of the urban dwellers live in the capital city of Kigali. Urbanisation has been identified as one of the contributors to economic transformation and is a priority area towards Rwanda’s vision 2020.
Rwanda joined the PSUP in 2012. UN-Habitat has supported the Government in revising its informal settlement inventory, a nationwide study of informal settlements, and is currently working on the development of the urban profiles, the national profile, and the citywide informal strategy. Starting in September 2015, Rwanda introduced a new urban water supply tariff that was designed in line with the pro-poor policy of UN-Habitat. The tariff is structured to protect the urban poor from paying unaffordable water prices. The development and adoption of the tariff is part of UN-Habitat’s second phase of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative that covers five countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.