Rwanda Feeder Roads Development Project (WB-P126498)

  • Rwanda
Geographic location where the impacts of the investment may be experienced.
Financial Institutions
  • World Bank (WB)
International, regional and national development finance institutions. Many of these banks have a public interest mission, such as poverty reduction.
Bank Risk Rating
Environmental and social categorization assessed by the development bank as a measure of the planned project’s environmental and social impacts. A higher risk rating may require more due diligence to limit or avoid harm to people and the environment. For example, "A" or "B" are risk categories where "A" represents the highest amount of risk. Results will include projects that specifically recorded a rating, all other projects are marked ‘U’ for "Undisclosed."
Voting Date
Mar 21, 2014
Date when project documentation and funding is reviewed by the Board for consideration and approval. Some development banks will state a "board date" or "decision date." When funding approval is obtained, the legal documents are accepted and signed, the implementation phase begins.
A public entity (government or state-owned) provided with funds or financial support to manage and/or implement a project.
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Construction
  • Transport
The service or industry focus of the investment. A project can have several sectors.
Potential Rights Impacts
  • Cultural Rights
  • Healthy Environment
  • Housing & Property
  • Right to Health
  • Right to Water
Only for projects receiving a detailed analysis, a broad category of human and environmental rights and frequently at-risk populations.
Investment Amount (USD)
$ 45.00 million
Value listed on project documents at time of disclosure. If necessary, this amount is converted to USD ($) on the date of disclosure. Please review updated project documents for more information.
Project Cost (USD)
$ 49.00 million
Value listed on project documents at time of disclosure. If necessary, this amount is converted to USD ($) on the date of disclosure. Please review updated project documents for more information.
Primary Source

Original disclosure @ WB website

Updated in EWS Mar 20, 2018

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Early Warning System Project Analysis
For a project with severe or irreversible impacts to local community and natural resources, the Early Warning System Team may conduct a thorough analysis regarding its potential impacts to human and environmental rights.


The project is assigned Environmental Assessment (EA) Category A, according to Bank documents, as upgrading of the roads to meet the proposed design standard is expected to have negative environmental and social impacts. Potential adverse impacts include: loss of agricultural land and vegetation due to excavation of land in road expansion and borrow areas; slope instability due to soil, water erosion and operation of machinery; disruption of natural drainage/flow and flooding; pollution of water bodies due to improper disposal of solid waste and spoil; increased noise and air pollution in the vicinity of construction sites. The roads to be widened cross hilly terrain susceptible to land slide and marsh lands which may have fauna and flora. The rehabilitation and upgrading works will involve significant earthwork and construction of slide protection and drainage structures, as well as embankments crossing marshlands.

*World Bank Documentation


-Environmental Assessment (OP/BP 4.01)
This policy is triggered because, according to Bank documentation, Preliminary findings from the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) for the first package feeder roads in Rwamagana, Gisagara, Nyamasheke, and Karongi districts indicate that rehabilitation and upgrading of roads will have potential adverse impacts. Potential adverse impacts include: loss of agricultural land and vegetation due to excavation of land from right of way and borrow areas; slope instability due to soil, water erosion and operation of machinery; disruption of natural drainage/flow and flooding; pollution of water bodies due to improper disposal of solid waste and spoil; increased noise and air pollution in the vicinity of construction sites.

-Natural Habitats (OP/BP 4.04)
Bank documentation states, Marshlands may be traversed by the project roads and, for this reason the Natural Habitats policy is triggered. These wetlands may have ecological value, and provide shelters to populations of birds, insects, and aquatic animal species of fauna and flora. Improper dumping of spoil and solid waste from construction sites into marshlands could lead to degradation and loss of habitat to the aquatic flora and fauna species of the wetlands. The project will strive to ensure that the ecological functions of the wetlands are retained, through mitigation measures as part of the ESMPs [Environmental and Social Management Plans].

-Forests (OP/BP 4.36)
This policy is triggered because, according to Bank documentation, initial ESIAs [Environment and Social Impact Assessments] indicate that road widening on some of the selected feeder roads may lead to tree felling and/or re-planting along the roads. A forest management plan may be prepared during project implementation as and when necessary.

-Physical Cultural Resources (OP/BP 4.11)
Bank documentation states that, Physical Cultural Resources (PCR) are not yet fully known, but some road works may be located in the influence area of some sites, thus triggering this safeguard policy. Preliminary ESIAs indicate that graves could be located in the right of way. The ESIAs also address impacts on physical cultural resources and provide a physical cultural management plan including 'Chance Finds'.

-Involuntary Resettlement (OP/BP 4.12).
This policy is triggered because, as Bank documents state, Civil works will induce land acquisition and the upgrading of the feeder roads to a six meters width and the construction right-of-way width of 12 meters, may induce the expropriation of strips of farm land and the relocation of houses. A Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) has been prepared, reviewed by the Bank and, the Bank states, was disclosed in country and at the Infoshop on November 21, 2013. The RPF Resettlement Action Plans (RAPs) for the selected feeder roads have been prepared and disclosed before appraisal.

*World Bank Documentation


According to Bank documentation, Public consultations were held throughout the preparation processes for ESMF, RPF and ESIAs and RAPs in communities along the selected roads. The stakeholders included: local governments and administrations; Community Based Organizations; Community Based Facilitators; and Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs). The consultations focused on confirming the support of the population to the project, defining potential impacts and mitigation measures, identifying potential areas of conflict between stakeholders and defining areas of collaboration.

Further, The objective of these consultations is to establish strategic partnerships with local communities in order to ensure maintenance and ownership of the rehabilitated roads at the local community level. Since, the Bank claims, the project will provide income generating opportunities under the fee for service maintenance contracts with local communities.

*World Bank Documentation


Right to Freedom of Expression, Assembly, and Association

Human Rights Watch has noted that the right to freedom of expression has not been consistently respected in Rwanda. As it states in the 2013 Human Rights Watch Rwanda report, while Rwanda has made important economic and development gains, the government has continued to impose tight restrictions on freedom of expression and association, and opposition parties are unable to operate. For example, Two opposition party leaders remain in prison and other members of their parties have been threatened. Two journalists arrested in 2010 also remain in prison, and several others have been arrested. Similarly, Independent civil society organizations remained weak due to years of state intimidation.

In an article published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai comments on the current status on the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association in Rwanda. The Rwandan Constitution guarantees freedom, the article reads, of peaceful assembly, but the Special Rapporteur said he found that in practice, peaceful protests criticising government policies were generally not allowed.

The Special Rapporteur observed a lack of space for individuals to express dissenting views in the political realm, due to the Government favouring a type of consensus politics that strongly discourages public criticism. Every dissenting political leader who rejects this consensus approach appears to get into legal trouble, with the most common charges being denying the genocide, sectarianism, corruption, and even spreading rumours, Kiai said. In all such cases, these politicians are accused of violence or having links with violent groups. This sends a chilling and unacceptable message that peaceful public disagreement with the Government is equivalent to criminality.

World Bank documentation for the proposed project implies this practice of consensus politics. In the Rwandan institutional context, Bank documents state, there is an Office of the Ombudsman to receive citizen complaints. However, given that remote rural local stakeholders may lack awareness about the Ombudsman complaints service and may not want to escalate concerns at such a formal level in the first instance, and it is proposed to supplement these existing mechanisms with a specific project grievance redress mechanism.

The following questions may be relevant in determining if members of your community have suffered a violation of the right to freedom of expression, assembly, and expression due to the construction or operation of the Rwanda Feeder Roads Development Project:

- Has your ability to peacefully gather or demonstrate against this project or any of the government departments of companies involved ever been restricted?
-What opportunities (legal or other) are available if you feel that your ability to peacefully gather or demonstrate has been restricted?
-Are you able to freely give out, seek or receive information or ideas (including information or ideas about the company and/or the planned investment project)?
-Do workers have the right to strike in your community and/or in this industry?

*World Bank Documentation

Right to a Healthy Environment

According to the Project's Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, the proposed project involves a number of negative environmental impacts, direct and indirect, that are divided between the construction phase and the operational, use and maintenance, phase.

According to the ESMF, The identified impacts apply to the socioeconomic environment (health, security, economic activities, employment, finances, etc) and on the biophysical environment (fauna, flora, water, air, soil, landscape). All these impacts affect the environment at different degrees, and their duration differs. As the construction goes on, however, there will be a number of excavations, soil disturbance and increased traffic around the site as a result of heavy trucks delivering various construction materials and taking away the generated waste including construction debris. All these are likely to pollute and degrade the environment, through mud slides, noise, and dust and air pollution.

Directly negative environmental impacts, resulting from pre-construction and construction activities such as site clearance, earthworks, and civil works, will come as a result of the dismantling of existing facilities, use of heavy construction machinery, spillage/disposal of construction debris, runoff from construction site, inadequate or inappropriate drainage of the construction site, inadequate safety measures etc. Some of these impacts, addressed in depth in the ESMF, are as follows: elevated levels of air pollution due to generation of noxious gases emanating from asphalt plants, construction equipment, crushers, elevated levels of noise pollution in the project area temporarily due to operation of various types of construction equipment, and loss of biodiversity due to construction among others.

The Bank adds, In addition to the above, there are few indirect impacts or impacts that result from construction activities though not causing the impacts, support to cause the impacts. Some of these impacts include, generation of vectors and vector borne diseases, spread of STD / HIV amongst the construction workers and within the community in the vicinity of construction activities etc.

Local communities may find the following questions relevant to assessing whether they may be suffering a human rights violation resulting from the construction or operation of the Project:

-Do you feel that your natural environment (air, water, land, animals, and plants) has changed since the start of the investment project or will change once the project starts?
-Where will hazardous waste be disposed of and what impact is this likely to have on the local environment?
-What options (legal or otherwise) do you have if the environmental impact of the proposed operations become a problem for local communities and/or the local ecosystem?

*World Bank Documentation

Right to Housing and Property

In terms of involuntary settlement, World Bank documentation states that loss of land due to construction of infrastructure is an expected outcome of the proposed project. According to Bank documents, the Project will not result in the physical displacement of any community, but it may result in a number of households losing residences and/or businesses. New roads may interfere with individual or community farm lands and affect crops, and will occupy some space in or close to the community. It may either be private or public land for which compensation may be required.

According to Bank documentation, the project is expected "to affect 2085 households that will lose, 85 houses, 140 ha of lands, 124 ha of crops along the Roads [...] If we consider the total land to be acquired and the number of affected household, every house hold is likely to lose 6, 7 acres. By considering the national average of land ownership by household which is 25 acres, these represent 26% of their lands.

Bank documents state, These figures have been estimated from field surveys and by comparing other RPFs with similar scope, the exact figures will not be known until the detailed census. It is unclear, however, whether or not these comparisons were made based on projects in regions or countries with comparable population densities to Rwanda; project documentation notes that Rwanda is among the world's most densely populated countries.

Bank documentation further states, As the proposed road upgrading activities may have negative environmental and social impacts, a Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) and four Resettlement Actions Plans (RAPs - One for each district) were prepared. The Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) is prepared to provide standards and procedures of compensation for any land acquisition, loss of assets, or restriction of access to resources that may take place as a result of RFRDP investments and finally, Resettlement Action Plans will be prepared for each subproject/district.

During the consultation processes, District staff asked to get more information on the size and exact location of the projects to be able to analyze how many families will be directly affected, which crops will be affected and if expropriations and transfers of families to other areas will be necessary. As the impacts of the projects involve some resettlements, there is a serious task of district officers. However, they need to be informed officially and provided with maps of the exact project locations and affected areas so that they can start informing inhabitants on how they will be affected and asking them for their cooperation.

The Bank's Resettlement Plan makes the following commitments: The overall objectives of this RPF will be to avoid involuntary resettlement where feasible or minimized by exploring all viable alternative project designs. Where it is not feasible to avoid resettlement, resettlement will be executed as sustainable development programs, providing sufficient investment resources to enable the persons displaced by RFRDP to share in project benefits.

During consultation meetings held by the borrower the following issues were raised and addressed. When the issue of expected risks and negative effects of the Project to the local community, the response was loss [of] their own lands for cultivation, and the relocation of people with houses within the Roads extension. When the issue of availability of funds for Resettlement was addressed, the response was that the government of Rwanda will provide funds for compensation and Project Affected persons will be compensated prior to the start of Project work. Common concerns and complaints from land owners during consultation meetings were (1) the need to be compensated for crops, trees, land and houses, and (2) the need to be informed when construction activities are planning to start in order to avoid the destruction of their established crops.

In the province of Karongi, Bank documents note that project roads are mainly through hills which are are densely populated with scattered settlements and adds: However, the government has launched an initiative, which encourages the scattered settlers to live in small townships established at selected central locations for a population living in a defined rural neighborhood. Rwanda instituted comprehensive land-tenure reform and a systematic land registration program along with a Crop Intensification Programme in order to address its land scarcity and low productivity in agriculture. Participation in the program requires community agreement to land consolidation and resettlement. This raises concerns that the Bank's support for this road project may be providing support to a program of state-directed resettlement, which deserves careful scrutiny.

Given these considerations, the following survey questions related to the rights to housing and property should be raised by communities and individuals affected:

-Have you and your community had an opportunity to provide meaningful input at each stage of the project design and planning, including on economic resettlement plans, and provide suggestions about alternatives to relocation?
-Have you and your community had an opportunity to provide meaningful input at each stage of the project design and planning, including on economic resettlement plans, and provide suggestions about alternatives to relocation?
-Was there evidence that the company had adequately considered and responded to your input?
-Do you have reasons to believe that your access to adequate housing could change once the investment project begins?
-What options (legal or otherwise) are open to you when your right to adequate housing has been affected?
-Have there been any complaints of forced evictions in the context of this investment project?
-Will households resettled for this project actually be compensated properly?
-Will communities resettled for this project move voluntarily?
-Will the resettlement area provide access to similar sources of livelihood as previous locations?
-How will appropriate compensation for lost trees, facilities and other assets be determined?
What options (legal or otherwise) are open to you if you do not receive fair compensation for these assets?

*World Bank Documentation

Right to Culture

According to Bank documentation, There are no known sites of significant cultural heritage or archaeological interest in the vicinity of the projects. However, the risks to cultural heritage would be on buried resources encountered during excavation on land.

Bank documentation states, "The feeder road namely Gisovu Ruzizi Cyto - Rangiro is passing through the Nyungwa National Park. The Bank further states, It is worth to note that the Nyungwe National Park is the only protected area that is likely to be affected by the Feeder Roads [D]evelopment [P]roject in Nyamasheke and Karongi District. Moreover, The first 20 km are through the forest. The road width is about 3-4 m, additional about 3,5 m will be required from the forest area. This expansion will need additional 7 ha from forest area.

The construction of new feeder roads through the Nyungwa National Park is likely to impose on the cultural rights of the Rwandese people. According to the Park's website, Nyungwe forest is hundreds of thousands of years old. People's presence in Nyungwe dates back at least 50,000 years. In 2004 the GOR made Nyungwe an official National Park, giving it the highest level of protective status in the country. Rwandans depend on Nyungwe as a source of natural resources and water, and protection from erosion. Similarly, People depend on Nyungwe to make a living it provides jobs for guides and trackers, and opportunities for the local economy, like the selling of handicrafts. Several plants found in Nyungwe have important medicinal value, i.e. bark of the umugote tree makes a good cough medicine, and some medicines have yet to be discovered.

Nyungwe forest provides an estimated hundreds of millions of US dollars (billions of RFW) worth of ecological services to surrounding communities, Rwanda and the entire planet every year such as slowing global warming and watershed protection. Rope, bamboo, and other traditionally used forest plants are still important to people for weaving, medicines, building and more. They must be harvested sustainably to protect the forest's integrity. Once damaged, forests take centuries to recover. Similarly, the people of the area are as diverse, with many examples of song, dance, music, cuisine, handicrafts and other artisan skills that make for a fascinating complement to the nature side of the [Park].

The following questions may be relevant for local communities:

-Do the land or other sites or resources affected by the investment project have a cultural significance for your community?
-Has your community has been discriminated against because of its culture as a result of this proposed project?
-Are these cultural sites taken into account and respected by the companies and investors in their plans and assessments for this project?
-Have community members been involved in plans to protect this heritage?
-Does the company consider that the planned investment project could result in restricting or denying the right to take part in cultural life?
-Does this project have a chance-finds procedure in case cultural artifacts are encountered during operations?

*World Bank Documentation

Right to Health

According to the Bank's statement in the ESMF on the impacts on human health, safety, and sanitation, Human health and safety could be compromised through road traffic accidents involving construction vehicles/equipment, although Occupational injury associated with construction activities will be limited to the work force only. Secondly, Indiscriminate disposal of human waste or free-range defecation by project workers could create environmental health problems for local communities. Similarly, the Bank states, Indiscriminate disposal of litter at the project sites and work camps will create unsightly conditions and pose safety and health risks.

An influx of workers during the construction phase of the RFRDP is likely to create new demands on the existing health care infrastructure and services, which according to the information presented in the Bank's project documents are already inadequate to meet the needs of people living in the project area.

According to an analysis by the Hotel Rwanda Rusabagina Foundation (HRRF), Only 17% of medical personnel work in rural areas while the remaining 83% work in urban locations (HRRF et al, 2009). This figure," the analysis notes :is especially poignant when, according to the World Bank (2012), 81.1% percent of Rwanda's total population resides in these underserved rural areas. Therefore, a little less than 19% of the population has access to 83% of health care personnel. As previously mentioned Rwanda has high rural poverty levels and has an average life expectancy of only 55 years old. Estimates show that Rwanda would have to increase its number of health care workers by 140% to meet the basic medical needs of its citizens well enough to significantly increase quality of life standards as well as raise the national average life expectancy.

Local communities may find the following questions relevant to assessing whether they may be suffering a human rights violation resulting from the construction or operation of the Project:

-Do you have reasons to believe that your health and/or your access to health services could be affected as a result of the planned investment Project?
-Have you as an employee or an inhabitant of a nearby community experienced any health issues since the advent of the Project's activities?
-Do the project managers have policies or programs to ensure that its activities do not cause public health problems or affect peoples' right to health?
-Will the construction or operation of the road involve use, storage, transport, handling or production of harmful substances or raise concerns about actual or perceived risks to human health?

*World Bank Documentation

Right to Water

According to Bank documentation, the proposed project poses a major risk to water sanitation. The Bank ESMF states that, The use of machinery and heavy truck during construction implies the spill of oil, grease and other chemical/material on road may pollute the soil and surface and ground water. Similarly, the proposed project will create an increase in soil erosion during the construction phase of minor works, which could cause temporary increases in sediment loads into rivers. Likewise, Runoff from staked construction waste entering the water bodies and existing drainage 
systems [may cause] clogging of drain outlets as well as the drains themselves.

Local communities may find the following questions relevant to assessing whether they may be suffering a human rights violation resulting from the construction or operation of the Project:

-Do the project managers have policies or programs to ensure that its activities do not affect communities' and individuals' right to water?
-Has your access to water been affected since the beginning of the investment project?
- Has the quality of local resources necessary for subsistence (e.g. crops, herbs, food and animals you depend on for food, etc.) decreased as a result of the Project's environmental impacts?

*World Bank Documentation

People Affected By This Project
People Affected By This Project refers to the communities of people likely to be affected positively or negatively by a project.

Investment Description
Here you can find a list of individual development financial institutions that finance the project.

Private Actors Description
A Private Actor is a non-governmental body or entity that is the borrower or client of a development project, which can include corporations, private equity and banks. This describes the private actors and their roles in relation to the project, when private actor information is disclosed or has been further researched.

Contact Information
This section aims to support the local communities and local CSO to get to know which stakeholders are involved in a project with their roles and responsibilities. If available, there may be a complaint office for the respective bank which operates independently to receive and determine violations in policy and practice. Independent Accountability Mechanisms receive and respond to complaints. Most Independent Accountability Mechanisms offer two functions for addressing complaints: dispute resolution and compliance review.


The World Bank Inspection Panel is the independent complaint mechanism and fact-finding body for people who believe they are likely to be, or have been, adversely affected by a World Bank-financed project. If you submit a complaint to the Inspection Panel, they may investigate to assess whether the World Bank is following its own policies and procedures for preventing harm to people or the environment. You can contact the Inspection Panel or submit a complaint by emailing You can learn more about the Inspection Panel and how to file a complaint at:

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