The Ministry of ICT and Innovation (MINICT) alongside the City of Kigali and Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA) in partnership with Smart Africa and the Norwegian Development Agency (NORAD), has launched a Smart Waste Management and Collection pilot project as part Rwanda’s Smart Cities initiatives. The project aims to improve and enhance solid waste management practices using technology and innovation.
Smart Africa is an alliance of 32 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with defining Africa’s digital agenda. The alliance aims to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development on the continent and usher Africa into the knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and the use of ICTs.
“We are committed to ensuring that as more people move into Africa’s cities, we use technology to improve the capacity of cities to accommodate more people. Smart Waste Management is a priority for our growing cities and this pilot project will be the first before we scale this initiative across Africa under the Smart Africa Alliance.” said Mr. Lacina Koné, CEO/Director General, Smart Africa Secretariat.
The pilot project was implemented at 5 sites, namely; Kimironko Public market, Mulindi Public market, Zinia Public market, Mutangana public market and Karama model village. The waste collection stations are eco-friendly, smart, and are built using only locally sourced materials. These waste collection stations are solar powered, camera surveilled and have durable epoxy coated floors.
“The City of Kigali is a fast growing city in infrastructure and population leading to increase in waste generation, requiring us to effectively manage and handle waste using smart technologies. This will help us to enhance the daily monitoring of waste collection and transportation, while segregated, which will help in valorizing it.” said Lord Mayor Pudence Rubingisa
Dustbins are locally fabricated and fitted with IoT technology that monitors real-time fill levels. The dustbins are monitored via a cloud-based system and these send live notifications to waste collectors. The project was conceived to optimize current processes without causing job losses. The pilot project implementation activities have employed more than 40 people and the pilot operations will bring a positive impact to city waste management operations.
Hon. Minister Paula Ingabire said “Through Rwanda’s smart cities and communities program, we seek to improve our citizens’ quality of life and our environment using digital technologies and Innovation. The approach we took under the Smart Cities blueprint, is to run a series of pilot solutions responding to real life challenges, evaluate the results and use them to revise, re-model or improve the solutions before scaling up. Such is what we have done here, applying technology to waste management to help optimize processes, create value across the waste management value chain, surveil activities at the sites with CCTV cameras and generate data using sensors that can support decision-making. We intend to leverage learnings from this pilot, to scale to all public markets and spaces and eventually homes.”
This pilot is part of the Government of Rwanda’s larger Smart Cities agenda implemented under the Smart Cities blueprint launched in 2017. As a champion of Smart Cities under the Smart Africa Alliance, Rwanda will continue to share any lessons learnt along the way with partner countries for a Pan-African transformation of our cities and communities.