Inland Water Transport

Background

Rwanda is a land-locked and mostly mountainous country. Therefore, its transportation system has developed along the natural processes of creating and using land infrastructure - roads. Today, Rwanda has a relatively important and partly well-paved road network with good accessibility to most parts of the country and to the surrounding countries.

 

However, Rwanda is gifted with lakes and rivers, which might make inland navigation an attractive alternative for some connections in both the transport of passengers and goods. In Rwanda, the naturally existing waterways with only few long-haul connections and rather small demand didn't encourage the private sector to seriously develop any form of inland waterways transport. The maritime transportation mainly on our main Lake Kivu has therefore continued to be used informally with minimum benefits.

 

Transportation costs for inland waterway with considerable quantities of heavy goods will be lower than those of road transport, basically due to much lower energy consumption, and mostly less maintenance on the infrastructure. In addition, the social, safety and environmental effects may be in favor of waterways transport.

 

Thus, the government of Rwanda is committed to ensure that the maritime transport in Rwanda becomes a major transportation alternative for both persons and goods. For implementation,  the detailed design study for lake Kivu water transport has been completed, and the Akagera river navigability study is also about to be launched.  This study will be an integral economic and technical viability analysis on developing inland waterways transport on the Akagera River from Kagitumba (Rwanda) to Lake Victoria.