NIRDA/CPCIC and ENERGY VILLE/VITO sign MoU to boost circularity and sustainability in construction sector in Rwanda

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed last week in Bruxelles, Belgium between the National Industrial Research and Development Agency / Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre (CPCIC) and Belgian research partners Energy Ville and VITO to collaborate for boosting circular economy in the construction sector in Rwanda.  

The collaboration aims to establish a strategic partnership to share knowledge and promote circularity and sustainability in the in the built environment and construction ecosystem in Rwanda through industrial research, technology mapping and development, interventions, and replications.

The collaboration was signed during the visit of Rwanda’s delegation to Bruxelles organized under the Circular Economy Pilot project in the construction sector in Rwanda commissioned by Enabel, a development agency of the Belgian federal government.

The project supports producers of Made in Rwanda building materials to integrate circular economy concept throughout the production value chain of their products.   In march 2023, a three-day boost camp was organized to train ten selected local construction companies on circular economy approaches in construction sector in Rwanda coached by Energy Ville/VITO in collaboration with OVO.  Representative of local companies that produce construction materials were also part of the study visit.

“We want to establish knowledge transfer through this experience to the companies in Rwanda. What we have seen already, will be beneficial to us in promoting circularity and sustainability in the construction sector. We shall be working together towards making a change in the construction sector in Rwanda” said the Director General of NIRDA Dr. Christian SEKOMO BIRAME after signing the MoU.

As part of the ongoing pilot project, a two-day retreat of the project core team representatives from different public institutions, universities, professional bodies in the construction sector is also ongoing from 13th – 14th June 2023 at la Palisse Hotel, Nyamata to review the developed guidelines for circularity and sustainability in the Rwandan construction ecosystem.

We are very glad for this partnership as we already have a taste of what we are aiming at, since it is now about eight months that we have been working with VITO in this journey to support our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the journey of sustainability. We have seen excellent interventions to learn here and we look forward to strengthened collaboration to support our Rwandan Companies implement the same in the sector.” said Sylvie MUGABEKAZI, Ag. Chief Executive Officer at Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre (CPCIC).

As many African countries, Rwanda is facing a growing population coupled with rising urbanization and need for housing, putting pressure on the natural resources and environment. However, on the other hand, Rwanda is one of the most advanced African countries in the circular economy transition for addressing such a challenge, with construction among the priority sectors.

With the signing of this MoU, it is expected that much will be done to keep to address the challenge including development of joint project proposals for additional research, publications for academic outreach and wider dissemination, capacity building as well as knowledge sharing and management.