The breathtaking scenery of unique, enormous rocky stones in Kirehe District has captivated the attention of many, but now the focus is shifting towards harnessing their potential to benefit the local communities. Residents in Kirehe district are calling for the responsible exploitation of these remarkable natural resources, recognizing the opportunity they hold.
Upon interviewing residents in Kirehe District, The New Times discovered their fervent desire to harness the potential of these unique, massive rocky stones for the betterment of their community. While the rocks currently serve as picturesque backdrops for photography enthusiasts, residents believe that their true value lies in their potential utilization.
Samson Nkunzingoma, a resident of Nyarubuye Sector, shares his perspective: “They offer stunning backgrounds for pictures, and photographers appreciate the scenery. However, personally, I believe they could serve the community in a more significant way if properly exploited. Just look at them–they are colossal rocks that hold immense potential.”
These abundant rocky stones span across five sectors of the district, including Nyarubuye, Mahama, Nasho, Mpanga, and Mushikiri. With their enchanting vistas, tourists flock to Kirehe district, drawn to the shores of picturesque lakes such as Nasho, Mpanga, and Cyambwe, all observed from atop these towering rocks.
In response to residents’ concerns about harnessing the potential of these rocky treasures for the benefit of host communities, Kirehe District Mayor Bruno Rangira explained, “An ongoing collaborative mapping study involving the Rwanda Development Board, the District, and the Rwanda Mining Board aims to assess the extent and means of exploiting these stones to produce glass, sand, and tiles.”
Rangira emphasized that the intention to process the stones into glass and sand aims to showcase the area’s unique natural wealth, stimulate the local economy, and generate employment opportunities for Kirehe’s residents.
The mayor added, “The implementation of the stone exploitation project will also result in infrastructure development, including roads, electricity, and water supply, leaving a positive legacy for our residents. This endeavor will create employment opportunities and allow locals to supply these facilities.”
In addition to the glass production plans, visitors will have the chance to participate in traditional mountain climbing activities, enjoy unforgettable experiences at campgrounds, and contribute to job creation in the host communities.
Regarding the progress of the project, Rangira revealed, “We are currently in the initial stages of mapping. The Rwanda Development Board has already conducted two site visits, and we have partnered with the Mastercard Foundation for a comprehensive needs assessment. An expression of interest has been issued, as we actively seek potential investors.”
The authorities are currently searching for investors who possess the capability to bring the project to fruition. Three interested investors have emerged thus far, and the authorities are carefully considering their ability to implement the project effectively.
For years, the vast rocky stones spanning across the five sectors of Kirehe District remained untapped. However, district officials have recognized the potential benefits that these natural riches hold for the host communities. Therefore, they are committed to sustainable exploitation, utilizing the stones for both tourism purposes and processing them into valuable resources.