Nyaruguru is home to the holy site of Kibeho which attracts 1000s of visitors every year. (File)
Nyaruguru is home to the holy site of Kibeho which attracts 1000s of visitors every year. (File)

Both officials and residents in the rural district say the lack of proper roads to help them easily access neighbouring areas and transport their produce to other markets is a setback.

Nyaruguru is home to the holy site of Kibeho which attracts 1000s of visitors every year. (File)
Nyaruguru is home to the holy site of Kibeho which attracts 1000s of visitors every year. (File)

Nyaruguru is one of the poorest districts in the country and ranks fourth among districts with the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line.

Figures from the 2010/11 Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV 3) indicate that only about 38.4 per cent of the population in Nyaruguru was above the poverty line; 35.4 per cent were extremely poor while 26.2 per cent were found to be poor.

However, although authorities claim that thousands of residents have been lifted out of poverty since the figures were released, it is clear that levels of poverty remain high.

And though poor and acidic soils pose a serious challenge that has contributed to keeping many under the poverty line, access to markets which is made difficult by the existing poor transport infrastructure remain a serious hindrance to development.

Because of poor roads, access to the district is limited and transport for both local products and passengers remain complicated, residents say.

Emmanuel Munyentwari, a commercial Taxi-Moto operator who regularly plies the Huye- Nyaruguru road, says transport charges remain high because of poor roads.

?We spend more time on the road and consume a lot of fuel because of the poor state of the road. In addition, our vehicles also get old too quickly. All those factors keep transport fares relatively high,? Munyentwari says.

Nyaruguru is accessed through potholed murram roads, making the ride there rough, tiresome and time-consuming for travellers. This also explains why many public transport companies have shunned the area despite having a large number of travellers?including those who travel to the pilgrimage site of Kibeho. Estimates show that over 500, 000 pilgrims travel to Kibeho annually.

The mini-buses, locally known as Twegerane, that mainly ply the Huye-Nyaruguru road are old and take long to reach their destination.

However, the district mayor, Francois Habitegeko, said the Huye-Nyaruguru road will soon be constructed.

?We believe that once the road is complete, it would help stimulate more investments that would create more jobs and ensure socio-economic transformation,? Habitegeko said.

By Jean-Pierre Bucyensenge, The New Times

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