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Rwanda’s Wetland Wealth: Bugesera District’s Plea for Investment to Unlock 90% Potential

Nestled in the heart of Bugesera District lies a hidden treasure trove—nine lakes, three rivers, and an abundance of marshlands. Astonishingly, despite this wealth of natural resources, a staggering 90% of Bugesera’s wetlands remain untouched, echoing the untapped potential that awaits the discerning investor.

Bugesera District, led by Mayor Richard Mutabazi, is calling for strategic investments to breathe life into these untamed wetlands, spanning a vast 17,000 hectares awaiting conservation. Mutabazi emphasizes the critical importance of prioritizing the conservation and restoration of these wetlands, not just for environmental well-being but as a key driver for the long-term sustainability of the residents’ livelihoods.

In Bugesera, wetlands aren’t merely expanses of water; they are life-giving ecosystems providing invaluable benefits such as water purification, flood control, and vibrant habitats for diverse wildlife. Furthermore, they play a pivotal role in bolstering the local economy through activities like fishing and agriculture. The clarion call from Bugesera officials is clear—invest in the conservation of these abundant wetlands and marshlands for a sustainable and thriving future.

Residents like Dismas Nsabimana in Rilima sector underline the impact of underdeveloped marshlands on their daily lives. The fertile soil and water resources in these marshlands remain largely untapped, limiting agricultural practices. Nsabimana envisions wetlands as a solution to food insecurity, emphasizing the need for developed water sources to support irrigation.

The district, encompassing lakes, rivers, and the Akagera River, holds tremendous potential for irrigation—a key solution to reducing dependence on erratic rainfall. However, only a small fraction of the marshlands, approximately 2,000 hectares, has been developed, leaving vast expanses prone to flooding during rainy seasons.

Jerome Hitayezu, Head of the Irrigation Department at the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), sheds light on plans to develop an additional 8,000 hectares of marshlands in Bugesera. The Nyabarongo II Project, backed by the Rwandan government, aims to harness the untapped potential of these wetlands. The expansion of marshland development not only benefits the local community but also revolutionizes the agricultural sector by offering year-round irrigation capacity.

Rwanda, with around 1,000 marshlands covering 10.6% of its surface area, recognizes the need for sustainable wetland management. As threats to biodiversity loom at 65%, the call to action stands at 35%, as revealed by a survey from the Rwanda Water Resources Board. Bugesera, with its plethora of natural riches, stands as a testament to the potential waiting to be unlocked through strategic investments in wetland conservation and development.

Investing in Bugesera’s wetlands isn’t just an environmental initiative; it’s a commitment to transforming untapped potential into a flourishing ecosystem that benefits the community, agriculture, and the nation at large. The call is clear—Bugesera’s wetlands are a golden opportunity awaiting the touch of visionary investors.

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