Developing Muhanga District: Findings from a Multidimensional Analysis

Secondary cities matter a lot in the provision of a more balanced sustainable urban growth for the country. Stimulating urbanisation through the secondary city agenda is expected to create jobs and reduce poverty. These cities have the potential to act as poles of growth and relieve the pressure on Kigali, which currently dominates the Rwandan economy. With an eye on government target to achieve an urbanisation rate of 35% by 2024, IPAR-Rwanda has conducted an in-depth analysis of the opportunities and challenges which are faced by secondary cities. This policy brief aims at providing information and guiding deliberations on the development and strengthening of Muhanga, a district of 318,965 inhabitants, located in the Southern Province. It sets out an approach of workforce development, strategic planning and investments to create bottom-up growth and support for opportunity sectors to achieve this goal. Urbanised at a rate of 16% but with a high reliance on agriculture and service sectors, economic policy and infrastructure planning needs to be tailored to the urge to increase the market size of Muhanga. This can be done through rural-urban linkages and promoting urban density building on its strategic position as a hub for Kigali and the province and developing latent extractive and light manufacturing industries.