Africa's cleanest city is officially a car-free zone

The Rwandan city of Kigali is a beacon of clean living as its recently implemented car-free policy makes way for a new green transport system.

From the Series

Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, is the cleanest city in Africa. The litter-free streets and manicured gardens paint a completely different picture to the derelict African cities portrayed in the media. At the end of August, the Kigali city office began the implementation of its car-free zone policy that aims to ban all cars from the CBD.

This is the most recent in a long line of mandates that have been employed to drive the clean up of the city – and it all seems to come from the top. Rwandan President Paul Kagame runs a tight ship and is an active advocate for green living. By banning the manufacture and use of plastic bags, promoting anti-littering habits and hosting a mandatory community clean-up once a month, the local government has succeeded in breeding a culture of eco-conscious citizens.

The banning of cars and minibuses in the city centre is part of a larger plan to create a pedestrian-friendly city, where citizens can rely on dependable bus transportation for their daily commute. In order to ensure an efficient transportation system, the city’s prominent bus companies have imported fleets of new 60 seater buses in preparation for the sudden influx of public transport users. In addition to this, the government will be installing Wi-Fi hotspots for pedestrians walking the streets and have already equipped its buses with Wi-Fi connection, with plans to install cashless payment systems.

Apart from the positive impact it will have on air pollution in the city, the car-free initiative will also significantly reduce high traffic congestion on the busy roads.

“We are doing this to decongest the area for businesses around. It will also ease the process of creating green transport areas within the city. We have identified places where people will park their cars as they transact businesses within that area,” said the city’s engineer Dr. Alphonse Nkurunziza.