Lessons from Rwanda: What Civil Engineers and Planners should know about Building Infrastructure in the Real World
This event will be livestreamed on the CED Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/452655635
Presented by the Department of City and Regional Planning and Global Metropolitan Studies as part of the College of Environmental Design's lecture series.
Free and open to the Public.
Over 25 years ago, Rwanda was on the brink of being wiped off the world map. Rwanda had just gone through one of the twentieth century’s worst genocides: the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. This tragedy left the country’s infrastructure completely destroyed. Everything had to be built from scratch. Yet today, the City of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, is widely known as the cleanest city in Africa. Rwanda, meanwhile, is ranked by the World Bank as the 2nd easiest place to do business in Africa. How can a country undergo such a complete transformation in so little time? What engineering and planning skills are really needed to rebuild a whole nation, at the pace Rwanda has done it? Engineers, planners, and other actors have played a critical role in Rwanda’s reconstruction process. In this presentation, I will describe their contributions, and highlight broader lessons regarding how world class infrastructure can be built with limited resources, even after complete destruction.
Patricie Uwase (M.S.’15 CEE) is passionate about infrastructure development, and she is putting that passion to work as the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Infrastructure in her native Rwanda since 2018. In that role, she oversees budget preparation and execution for Rwanda’s infrastructure sector, which is about a third of the national budget. Ms. Uwase also leads teams of national agencies, engineers and other experts to implement Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation and its Vision 2050 for the infrastructure sector. This entails overseeing national projects in four of the country’s strategic infrastructure sub-sectors; namely (1) energy (whole spectrum from power generation, to transmission, to distribution and access), (2) transportation (from construction of a state-of-the-art international airport, to construction and maintenance of major national roads and public transport services among others), (3) water and sanitation (construction of water treatment plants and sanitation facilities & supply of clean water to all), and last but not least, (4) the country’s urbanization and human settlement sub-sector to deliver a sustainable and green growth, guided by the Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition, Uwase serves on the boards of Rwanda’s national airline, RwandAir, as well as Ultimate Developers Ltd. and on the City of Kigali Advisory Committee. Previously, Patricie worked on other national projects such as the Kigali Convention Center, which has hosted important continental and international events. She has also helped to organize transport logistics and operations for large-scale national events like the 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa and the African Union Summits in 2016 and 2018.
An alumna of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley, Uwase is committed to building and planning sustainable transport infrastructures in Rwanda and beyond.