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What has Really Led Kigali in Rwanda Becoming The Cleanest City in Africa

Kigali Cleanest City in Africa

I have often heard Rwanda is generally a clean country and Kigali is regarded the cleanest city in Africa. what I wanted to know is how they have pulled this off. I want to know if they have secrets most of us in Africa are not aware of.

A simple search led me to a few sources sighting a number of things the people in the country do to keep it sqeaky clean. Here is what I found out.

1. The government officially banned the manufacture and use of plastic bags in Rwanda. The ban reduced plastic pollution, one of the biggest challenges for African countries.

The look of a clean road in Kigali

kigali clean


2. People simply do not litter they try to dispose of any litter in the right way. School kids know this too and they do the right thing.

Beautiful Kigali


3. Why aren’t people littering ? well, the leadership of the country take this issue seriously and they lead by example. The leaders are not immune to cleanliness they lead the way and the country follows.


A beautiful house in Kigali

kigali house


4. President Kagame leads by example, making it mandatory for all Rwandese people of able bodies to participate in a community clean-up day once a month. He comes out himself to do it with the people. He sets the standard. 

The cleaning may happen during the mandatory community service day  held on the last Saturday of each month called Umuganda meaning community service.

Paul Kagame leading by example

Kagame participating in Umuganda on March 28, 2015: image by chimpreports

5. The need for cleanliness is taught in grassroots communities like schools, villages and city districts

6. All households are required to build waste disposal pits and basic hygiene facilities. Civic bodies organise larger waste disposal. Dustbins, latrines and other disposal facilities are everywhere. So you don’t have any real excuse to be a litterbug.




Written by PH


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  1. I would really love to see the same in Kenya. The deputy president is hardly busy and could lead in this apart from politicking, and of course president Uhuru Kenyatta can come out and lead the way. Using the NYS is not the end to everything. I have collected so much plastic bags myself I could be be a multi-billionaire was it Money, but the waste is everywhere and a terrible eyesore. Worse is, ruminant animals chew them and get weak and die, yet they are an economic mainstay!

  2. Forget about the other countries in Africa, the UK citizens should also follow the same educational theme as in Rwanda. Well Done.

  3. Great to see that they are committed to improving the public realm in Rwanda. My only problem with the images here is that it appears that they are trying to turn Kigali into a twee European suburb. I’d like to see the place benefit from some really high quality architecture and sustainable town planning that is compatible with African lifestyles not just facsimiles of ‘western’ cities.

    • I think that Europe have realised their mistakes and changing, Asia are copying the west. Africans must learn something from both continent but we must not repeat their mistakes, we must look for local solutions and not just copy the west. Then we can be a shinning example

    • That’s right! That’s what I envision as well, we need to stop copying Western Culture or Architecture and start modernising our own traditional architectures, they will probably copy us as well.. 🙂

  4. Absolute eye opener. My image of Africa was very very different from this. Very impressed by President Kagame and the people for supporting him in the cleanliness drive.

  5. My heart bleeds that Ghanaians don’t have a quater of this kind of discipline…u c ppl throw pure water sachets n bottles indiscriminately n when u talk they attack u either physically or verbally.I must commend ministry of local govt n rural devpt for instituting the national sanitation day but that is not enough.Ppl must learn to be responsible n avoid littering the environment…. i mean our sanitation laws nust work to punish offnders untill then am sorry we cannot solve this problem

  6. Impressive, clean Kigali. Others “African countries” should emulate the leadership by example. First step to healthy living. We all need it. This was the way we lived from time immemorial. We have almost commercialised everything. Children are not trained to partake in house and environmental cleanup anymore, no thanks to the affluence mentality! I grew up with this trainings. So if it takes a president to lead that positive change. So be it. Proudly Nigerian. By the way Nigeria seriously needs it!

  7. Great leadership by example. Other African leaders need to emulate. Peace and Love from Nigeria!

  8. It’s nice to read something good about our continent. For years Africa was known for it’s ghetto, dirty images and flies on peoples face. I don’t know what happened but in the last few months I hear more good news about Africa which is really a positive thing for the continent. If there one thing I have to say to my brother and sisters in Africa, there is always something to learn from each other what lacks is a forum where we exchange ideas, lets have that.

  9. i wish this will go on in Ghana as well, the recent flood showed how dirty the nation was; i must say Ghana has a long way to go but there is still #HOPE FOR AFRICA.

  10. Rwanda may be a small landlocked country, but it is the country to watch. President Paul Kagame, impressive as always.

  11. True Kigali looks nice. Anyone who interacts with a Rwandi knows there’s a dictatorship there so things move. Let’s wonder what will happen if the president is no more. Does this explain the third term? As Africans, we should care about the drivers behind certain things we observe so we can copy appropriately. This approach is not sustainable in other countries like Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, to name but a few, because there are no dictators in power. You cannot arrest people in these countries because they refused to participate in a public cleaning exercise, but you may vanish for the same reason there. When cleanliness is based on fear rather than voluntary participation , it is not sustainable.

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