February 23, 2024

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Helping Former Street Vendors and Creating Opportunities: Kigali’s Support Programs

The City of Kigali, in collaboration with the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA), has helped former street vendors find markets in the commercial place.

The program aims to help former street vendors find a working place and help them get capital through loans.

On January 9th, 2024, these vendors were promised accompaniment throughout the year, along with capital and a paid working place. Additionally, they will receive training to aid in the expansion of their business. They are expected to maximize these opportunities and carry out their work in a lawful manner.

Martine URUJENI, the Vice Mayor in Charge of Socio-Economic Affairs in the City of Kigali, highlighted this as one of the solutions to help vendors with limited capacity to work in a good place and avoid doing business that is done in chaos.

She said, “In this program, the aim is to make those who have been street vendors for a long time leave them and stay together, and their customers find them here. Help us to help you.”

She said that otherwise there would be no street vendors in Rwanda, that it is not a goal of a year or five years, and that the activities that have been started for a long time, the less they will be resolved, the more they will be destroyed.

In her speech, Claudine M. Sol. NYINAWAGAGA, the Director General of LODA, assured these vendors that they would be paid for places in small markets throughout the year. The Ministry of Local Government of Rwanda has also established VUP regulations to grant small loans for a period of one year, and after the payment is completed, they can be given a secondary loan.

She noted that the government has taken steps to reach them, but they should do better in a way that looks to the future and has a purpose, which helps everyone to develop.

She said, “Those parents, those young people, are willing to work; they don’t beg, but by working, they have weaknesses; we can help them build their abilities and weaknesses and turn them into strengths.”

“Where you are weak, the first is to work without capital. We can get you a loan, and the problem of capital will be solved with the benefits of VUP at 2% interest per year. We don’t ask for a guarantee, and we train you on how to gain more money.”

“Here’s how to improve yourself; here’s how-to do-good property management. We show you how to go to the credit unions and accelerate your development.” She added.

He concluded by assuring the public that they have enough markets to relocate those who are already street vendors, asking them to help by providing accurate information, and showing those who want to come pretending that they are already working.

One of the former street vendors, David NDAYISHIMIYE, expressed his gratitude to the administration for taking them off the streets and changing their lives, asking his colleagues to make the most of the opportunities they have been given.

“We used to find market places in other sectors, but now that we see them in our sector, we are happy. There are 157 places here; in fact, this is the first step you helped us achieve. We thank you, but we also want the rest of our colleagues to find somewhere else to put them.”

“I request my colleagues to use the places we have been given to use them properly and avoid going back outside because it makes the leaders weak,” he added.

The City of Kigali and LODA Rwanda, in continuing to build the capacity of street vendors, also opened two small markets, in addition to the other six in Nyarugenge district that employ about 1,691 people. Currently, there are 30 small markets in the city of Kigali with 4,158 vendors.

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