The meeting is taking place between 20th and 26th June 2022 after it was postponed two times due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Different business deals are also expected to be signed during the meeting.
It is expected that some roads will be closed or diverted as guests will be driving to the meeting venue or returning to their accommodations to avoid traffic congestion.
To this end, new roads are needed to find an alternative and ensure free movements.
Speaking to RTV, Eng Patricie Uwase, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Infrastructure has said that a lot had been done in preparations of the meeting even before COVID-19 emerged.
A total of Rwf10.5 billion had been earmarked to upgrade infrastructures including roads and airports.
Eng Uwase has said that preparations have been done from the airport where guests will land to hotels designated to accommodate them.
“We started preparations with Kigali International Airport where guests will land and take off. We have expanded it enough and upgraded parking capacity to accommodate 50 aircrafts,” he noted.
Eng Uwase has explained that there might be traffic jam from the airport during the meeting.
To address this issue, she underscored that the Government put much effort in the expansion of existing roads and creating new ones.
“Almost all have been completed – eight roads covering more than 12 kilometers. There are more nine large roads [under construction]. These include Sonatubes-Gahanga road currently at 96% and the road in Itunda with construction activities at over 70%. They will all be completed before CHOGM. Many of them are expected to be completed towards the end of this month and more efforts are being expended,” noted Eng Uwase.
Residents to be affected by closure of the road from the airport in Kanombe for safe passage of guests include those from Masaka, Kabuga, Gasogi and other areas along the road to Eastern Province.
Eng Uwase has stressed that there are alternative roads in Nyarutarama and Technique to Kimironko among others that might be used by people driving to the city center or Nyabugogo.
The areas of Kabeza and Rubirizi also have an alternative road through Itunda linking up to the one from Kanombe.
“It will be completed and currently stands at nearly 70%. Activities are being expedited that it will be finalized,” said Eng Uwase.
“There is a road that should be used most running through the areas of Kabeza from Alpha Palace Hotel. There is another from Niboye. In fact, these roads can be very helpful if they are efficiently utilized,” she added.
Eng Uwase revealed that these roads will be announced before CHOGM.
Frank Gisha Mugisha, the Director General of the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism at the Private Sector Federation (PSF) has highlighted that there are enough hotels’ rooms to accommodate guests.
“We have registered 8000 rooms in Kigali. The meeting will bring together between 5000 and 6000 participants. This shows how the city is ready with enough accommodations,” he said.
Mugisha has said that concerned institutions are working together to secure accommodations because there are instances when one leader can book two hotels depending the number of delegates comprising his team.
Mugisha has said that they have been inviting international experts to train hotels’ staffs. These are sharpening their culinary arts and equipping them with relevant skills to serve guests better. Drivers are also among other people who were trained.
“During these two months, we helped service providers through trainings by inviting experts from across the world, chefs with experience in preparing foods for Heads of State to meet with our chefs and waiters. Something great has been done,” he said.
Mugisha added that the training goes hand in hand with how best to respect COVID-19 preventive measures.
Residential houses’ renovation
As part of preparations, Eng Uwase said, residents with living along main roads have renovated their houses.
“Most of residents with houses along main roads have made renovations. We have worked together in some instances like upgrades along the road to the airport [in Kanombe]”.
“These activities also include the painting of houses where traders make possible efforts to make buildings smart. We collaborated in most cases and the activity was successful,” she added.
Eng Uwase urged those who have not yet finalized to fast track renovations.
Eng Uwase has also explained that much more preparations have been done in touristic towns like Musanze by improving hotels’ services and upgrading airports.
“This was done so that tourists willing to move by aircrafts can have that alternative. We also invested enough in Rubavu and other major towns,” she said.
“For instance, we completed Kivu Marina Bay, a four-star hotel in Rusizi. In Eastern Province, you know that there is Epic hotel. However, the most important thing is about services because we don’t present beautiful buildings without good services,” added Eng Uwase.
Rwanda has also made preparations for movements of guests to hotels or meeting venues and related activities.
“We work with companies that have entered agreements with the government and ready to serve headfirst. They prepare all needed vehicles to be able to drive guests […]” said Eng Uwase.
“We have also allowed visiting countries to make a list of other companies in which they want to hire vehicles to be helped with urgency,” she added.
Beautifying the city
Installing new much brighter lights is among activities to be given priority in Kigali.
“We are making installations along 50 kilometers in Kigali so that they will be well lit by the time the meeting will be taking place,” Eng Uwase noted.
This will go hand in hand with decorative lights to be installed at different road junctures, Car Free Zone and others.
Regarding power supply, Eng Uwase revealed that Rwanda Energy Group (REG) inspected all power lines to fix any defects.
Despite the recent water scarcity in Kigali due to damaged pipes, Eng Uwase has explained that more measures have been put in place to ensure enough reserves.
“So far, 21 water reservoirs are full. They are an addition to other reservoirs we already had in Kigali under our plan to upgrade water distribution networks,” she noted.