I am fortunate to be on a “working vacation” in Kigali, Rwanda, attending a conference on urbanization sponsored by the International Growth Centre. Rwanda is about the size of Vermont in land area, but with a population of 11.5 million. Urbanization is one of their priorities as they expect the population in the capital city of Kigali (currently one million people) to double in the next 10 years.
I had the opportunity to visit the One Stop Centre for development permitting for an overview about how planning and permitting is done in Kigali. Their mission is “Simple. Fast. Reliable.” The key takeaways for me were: First, this is truly a best practice because all development applications come through one physical location (electronically submitted) and the Centre staff then distributes plans to all reviewers, regardless of their respective departments or agencies. Second, each reviewer has a timeline they must meet. Third, all reviewers are on the same software system and the applicant can check online at any time to see the progress of their application. Fourth, the Centre guarantees a 30 day turnaround. When asked what happens if an applicant does not provide quality plans, the answer was, “They too have an incentive. If the plans must be resubmitted, they must do it quickly because after 30 days, the project will have to begin again.”
The leaders in Kigali and Rwanda are committed to outcome based performance and so monitoring turnaround times is a serious endeavor. With cranes visible throughout the city’s skyline, the development review process here seems to be a shining example of how placing a priority on development and cooperation can yield good results. http://www.kcps.gov.rw/index.php