Ingenzi za Huye is currently soliciting for more interventions to reduce the growing poverty levels that continue to pose a potential threat to the development of Huye. The cooperative exclusively owns and manages Huye City Modern Market, the first of its kind in the Southern Province and recently completed another commercial complex to facilitate trade in the city.
The storied building that houses Huye City Modern Market is one of the landmark buildings that make the skyline of Huye city, one of Rwandaís six secondary cities. Its historic significance in the country, however, presents this city as a potential centre for education, research and tourism hub.
Huye, which has changed names from Butare and Astrida before that served as the administrative capital of the Belgian colonial administration until Rwanda gained independence in 1962. King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa and Burundian Prince Louis Rwagasore studied from Groupe Scolaire Officiel de Butare popularly known as Indatwa – the oldest school in Rwanda. The city was first in the east African community to host a stadium, university, swimming pool and medical school (1937).
Francine Murekatete, the President of Ingenzi za Huye, says that the dwellers of this historic city are optimistic that the government of Rwanda will sooner than later move into action to deliver on its promise to boost the cityís economic development through several strategies.
Huyeís economic development started relapsing following the relocation of principal faculties of the University of Rwanda (UR) to other districts and residents continue to feel the pinch to the day.
The current development level of the area doesnít resonate with its vantage location. Huye is a border city near the Burundian border with unmatched historic significance in the country.
Murekatete illustrated the direct link between Huye city and the market, and hence, the regression of the southern city, directly negatively impacted the progress of the cooperative, which particularly ventures in trade and investment.
To address the situation the cooperative continues to invest in infrastructures here they recently completed another commercial complex to facilitate businesses in the city.
On the other hand, she says that, ìany increase in support by the government and district administration, will change the face of tourism in the area. Besides natural resources like forests, the district has already embarked on the development of sports so that our stadium is put to maximum use.î
As the leaders, she said, they were grateful to government for the on-going efforts, put in place during the COVID-19 aftermath to fast track and propel economic recovery.
Officials revealed recently that conversations involving different players including local leaders, traders and Private Sector Federation (PSF) were ongoing to ensure promotion of tourism.
The reforms of the High Council of Education included the relocation of key public institutions like UR, Agriculture Research Institute (ISAR), Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (IRST) among others.
Murekatete says unlike other cities, Huye isnít well-endowed with economic resources like agricultural land and tourist attractions.
In addition, the business community leader blames the slow pace of development the southern city recorded in the last decade or so, on recent events that include the cold relations between Burundi and Rwanda, and the reforms in the education sector that led to relocation of some faculties.
ìThe University of Rwanda relocated nearly all principal faculties, and this affected us variously ñ even as government tried bringing the institutions back to the city is no longer as it used to be because many have migrated to other regions in the country,î said Murekatete.
According to 2022 population census, Southern Province where Huye is located was one of the provinces that recorded a high rate of migrants that moved to other provinces with fifth of the total out-migrants.
Observers say that university dons, researchers and students formed a formidable market as they depended on the city market for food and other commodities.
Management of the city market says that the complex has 65 spacious rooms that can be portioned according to customers space requirements plus open-air spaces, two of them host wearsí stalls and foodstuffs. The building that houses more 700 businesses has 95% of its capacity occupied.
Cooperative’s role in development
Ingenzi za Huye variously contributes towards the progress of Huye through various ways – investments, creating jobs and facilitating traders that pay taxes increasing tax base and governmentís revenue.
They contribute money annually towards districtís vote for public health insurance for the most vulnerable subscribing to the first category of Ubudehe.
The cooperative is also responsive to government programmes and partners with district authorities in implementing programmes aimed at uplifting citizensí welfare. Theyíve been at the forefront of rolling out Girinka programme among others.
Management of the cooperative extends gratitude to H.E President Kagame for his undying commitment to mobilize Rwandans along the journey of delivering themselves from poverty as well as improving living standards.
Established in 2007, Ingenzi za Huye commenced with three major objectives – construction of commercial buildings to facilitate traders and develop the city, build residences and import basic commodities not available on local market.
The completion of Huye City Modern Market became the first venture exclusively started by Ingenzi za Huye cooperative that brings together members subscribing to the private sector and became a model for the business community in other regions of the country.