Nisha Uwase

city of Kigali

According to the (Welcome to the United Nations, 2014), more than one-half of the world’s population lives now in urban areas and virtually all countries of the world are becoming increasingly populated. In simple terms, this phenomenon is referred to as urbanization, a definition that is associated with the increase in the number of people that live in urban areas (McGranahan, 2015). Urbanization has been considered as hindering global challenges to both developed and developing African countries. It is an issue that needs to be addressed and examined as the continent comes to a comprehensible solution for urbanization. This blog article, therefore, embarks on the frustration of youth unemployment that leads to urbanization in Kigali. 

With Rwanda being a small-sized country in Africa, (Worldometer – real time world statistics, n.d.)  it has over 12 million people as its population and a rising number of 1.2 million settled in Kigali City, greater urbanization has occurred due to an increasing population of Rwandan’s settling in Kigali, and as the nation develops into a middle-income country by 2020. (Gubic and Baloi, 2019) estimate that Rwandans living in Kigali will be 17% to 35% by 2045. A vast difference in percentage will lead to urbanization. However much Kigali being the only city in Rwanda, it’s where most Rwandans believe one can be provided better living conditions, quality education, job opportunities, and so many more. Those key points highlight the push and pull factors of migration to cities, however, they mostly apply to migrants to Kigali aged between (18-35 years old). The Rwanda youth coming from rural areas of the country are persuaded by their families and communities towards opportunities for unemployment so as to better their living conditions. Thus, most of these young people will search for a settlement in the city and with an economic, social, or educational purpose that motivates them to move to Kigali. 

Research proves that urbanization accounts for 17.3% and mostly concentrated in Kigali. With the high percentage of urban population exceeding Africa’s urban grate which is 3.2%, the EDPRS suggests that cities other than Kigali such as Gisenyi should unlock their economic opportunities to young people (Tull, 2019). Hence solving the problem of Urbanization in Kigali and youth unemployment. There are several impacts of urbanization in Rwanda aside from the movement of young people to search for jobs; one of the primary influences to this movement was the return of refugees that flee from the country due to conflict and destruction in post-genocide Rwanda. Most of the refugees were young people who were looking for efficient standards of living in the city. Most central migrants arrived from the South 56%, 27% from the West, 8% from the East, and 8% from the Northern province. (Tull, 2019)

Unfortunately as urbanization is growing rapidly, yet, the Rwandan youth upholds 69% of the unemployed and underemployed youth due to less or lack of job opportunities that would satisfy them in the settlement of Kigali City (Welcome to the United Nations, n.d.). The influence of economic transformation contributes to the growth of urban workers receiving a better education and higher skills that add value to the labor market, unfortunately, the rural workers are left for less productive jobs such as cleaning, cooking in places of work. The comparison between wages both leads to GDP growth through allocating from urban-rural employment. 

(Tull, 2019), Another impact of urbanization in Rwanda is the accessibility to education seen as a pull factor towards the development of opportunities and producing skilled people. Education is a primary factor in why rural-urban migration occurs especially at the tertiary level of education. Young people find the motive to settle in Kigali in order to enroll in “good schools” in the hope to acquire jobs in the cities. 

A short question and answer interview methodology asked to an urban employer who migrated from a rural settlement to find a job in Kigali City. The aim of this questionnaire was to understand the motive behind her migration and the kind of impact it has created. ( This conversation was interpreted from Kinyarwanda to English. 

Background of the respondent

Name: Muhoza Sylvia 

Age: 29 years old

Gender: Female

Originally from the Eastern province of Rwanda, migrated to Kigali City in 2014 

Nisha ( interviewer): Urbanisation is a growing concern in Rwanda causing a high population concentration in Kigali city. Can you share your experience on your choice to move from Kayonza to Kigali city.

Muhoza( interviewee): I moved to Kigali city with a motive to find money in any available jobs in the city, and so i decided to take on the job for house maids. 

Nisha: Do you think you will stay in the city forever?

Muhoza: No! I came to the city in search of capital, not a lifestyle. But i plan to go back to my home town in Kayonza to establish my own business.

Nisha: What challenges did you face when migration to Kigali?

Muhoza: With a high populated number of people migrating from rural to urban; it was very competitive when searching for jobs with other migrators. I also found it difficult to adapt to the city as it is very much different from the rural areas.

As mentioned by Muhoza Slyvia; the primary reason for the cause of youth migration occurs when searching for employment. It creates urbanisation to Kigali city simply to further seek better education, employment, health services etc..Alternatively, one might think of reasons why such development is only discovered in the city, and not in other parts outside the city. In either case; youth unemployment is not influenced by urbanisation but by the government body of the country, and how development is distributed within the country. Clearly, economic and social progress should also be identified and advanced in rural parts of Rwanda. Therefore develop integrated planning for other areas in the country. This will also solve the issue of high percentage of migration rates. Another aspect for the government to reduce urbanization in the city is by encouraging young people to practice agriculture in their local areas. By promoting rural agriculture development, the rural areas will be able to employ existing unemployed youth who are mostly skilled in agriculture. 

References 2014. Welcome to the United Nations. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2021].

McGranahan, G., 2015. | Science, health and medical journals, full text articles and books.. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2021].

Worldometer. n.d. Worldometer – real time world statistics. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2021].

Gubic, I. and Baloi, O., 2019. Cogitatio Press | Open Access Publisher. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2021].

Tull, K., 2019. Links between urbanisation and employment in Rwanda. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2021]. n.d. Welcome to the United Nations. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 March 2021].