By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame had a dream — build an ultra-modern city-within-a-city to showcase Rwanda’s socioeconomic transformation. The ultra-modern city-within-a-city would comprise of a variety of housing units, shopping malls, recreational and leisure facilities, restaurants, sports facilities, a three-star hotel, and a conference center.
Kagame named his city-within-a-city Vision City 2020 which would be Africa’s housing wonderland with 4,500 units, including luxury villas and apartments with a capacity to accommodate over 22,000 people.
Construction began in 2013, and was completed in 2017-2018. By 2019, however, Kagame’s Vision City 2020 remained mostly empty — a ghost town. There were no buyers. The original prices of the housing units that ranged from US$179,000 to US$560,000 were sharply reduced but to no avail.
General Kagame forgot one thing. In a country where most people earn less than US$1.90 a day, few can afford houses in his now ghost town. The biggest losers in this fiasco are Rwandan workers. The money that built Kagame’s ghost town came from the Rwandan workers’ pension fund — no less than US$150 million.