The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) seeks to expand the Volcanoes National Park from 160 hectares to 197.4 hectares.
The project will relocate about 3000 families to give space for the Park’s expansion.
In a consultation meeting between Musanze District and partners in the protection of biodiversity, it was announced that the expansion of this park will be done in three phases over a period of 15 years.
Studies have shown that the expansion of Volcanoes National Park will make the Park more profitable by maintaining the welfare of the animals and improving the development of the residents and the country as a whole.
The Vice Mayor of Musanze District in charge of Economic Development, Mr. Andrew Rucyahana Mpuhwe, says that currently the project to expand the Volcanoes National Park is going to start in the month of August 2022.
He said, “This August, we will begin work to identify families and properties that will be affected by the expansion of the Park, to consider what will be required to relocate those people and to sort out all the problems of unregistered land. It is an activity that will last until the month of December 2022, before we start paying the properties.”
“What we are asking people is cooperation in order for this project to be successful, non-governmental organizations have an important role in raising the awareness by giving them knowledge and helping them to carry out various projects to support the expansion of the park, all of which can be done by private individuals and civil society organizations.” He adds
Rucyahana went on to say that they want Musanze to be a model center in tourism because of the investment opportunities it has, the landscape, the weather and the vision of the country.
He said, “We want it to be a model hub for tourism considering the nature, the scenery, the development of the area and the direction of the country and everything is possible.”
According to Faustin Vuningoma, the Coordinator at Rwanda Climate Change and Development Network (RCCDN), relocating people is one of the ways to prevent animals from escaping the Park and that it should be planned well so that the neighboring community can also benefit from the park revenues.
The director of the Volcanoes National Park, Uwingeri Prosper, said that it is time to take action that would allow the Park’s benefits to continue to increase instead of regressing.
He said, “Expanding the park will allow us to increase the benefits of it both in terms of tourism and in terms of protecting the ecosystem. You know the resources that come from it contribute to the development of the country, such as building infrastructure and improving the living conditions of the people in this country.”
In general, this project will cost more than 300 billion Rwandan francs.