About Walk21 Kigali
In African cities, walking is the primary mode of transport for the majority, with up to 78% of people walking every day to access work, education, health care, markets, and public transport.
Until recently, walking, almost everywhere on the continent, received relatively minor policy attention and resource allocation. Walking infrastructure was lacking: most roads had no footpaths or crossings and were poorly signed and maintained. Walking was, for a billion people, difficult, unpleasant, and unsafe and it was children, the elderly, those with disabilities, women, and those with low incomes – who walk most – that disproportionately suffered.
Kigali is leading a growing number of enlightened cities in Africa, that are transforming the paradigm by valuing people walking as a solution to routine road safety challenges, equity imbalances and climate concerns and, at the same time, attracting local and overseas visitors and economic investment.
Supportive land-use, mobility and social policies underpin the principles of a walking experience in Kigali that is safe, accessible, and enjoyable irrespective of income, age, ability, or gender. The city planners work with the engineers to deliver affordable actions to improve walkability. They are supported by knowledgeable university professors, ambitious politicians, and a demanding local community. The result is a network of enjoyable streets that are walked by everyone.
Kigali’s commitment to affordable actions for walkability is a template for any city wanting to re-define a successful future mobility system; which wants a safe, clean and reliable city that functions efficiently; and that is seeking to attract further investment to grow and be competitive internationally.
The global momentum for more walkable communities is growing. With the Pan-African Action Plan for Active Mobility and THE PEP Pan-European Masterplan for Walking in development, national governments in 108 countries are engaged in developing strategic direction for more walking in their jurisdictions.