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Kigali is known for its cutting-edge cleanliness, friendly people, and security. All this would lead to thinking that it has the best nightlife experience, but does it?

The past decade has seen efforts to achieve a breakthrough in the entertainment sector but with few successes. Event organizers still point fingers to the tight regulations and safety measures, citing the many cases where the police shut down concerts when the main act hasn’t even started.

There have also been noise pollution incidents where the authorities shut down bars without clear policy guidelines. Here, cultural entrepreneurs have raised concern over the decibel measurement observed for a place to be qualified as a nuisance.

Although all the above are slightly in the past, the entertainment sector is more staggering now. Despite the increasing number of bars and other spots for leisure, shortage of places for unique fun experiences remains significant. And most businesspeople in the sector still tend to think that a fancy place, coupled with alcoholic drinks, complete the equation of what a fun experience should be. But, ideally, that is just the bare minimum.

On the other hand, another problem has come up. Speak of a problem-solving tactic that has caused another problem to the bar sector. Police says road accidents have increased due to drunk-driving. Even the president addressed the problem in his speech at a party meeting last month. So authorities have become alarmed – it’s an emergency and the solutions were implemented with little to almost no consideration of possible consequences and how they affect local businesses.

For the fear of tough measures taken to solve the emergency at hand – which include a fine of one hundred and eighty thousand Rwandan francs and five (business) days of imprisonment – the number of people who go out has fallen. Bar and nightclub owners have begun to feel the impact and they are whispering their cries. It’s a matter of time until they feel the pain quite significantly.

In the end, the most important question is: For a city that seeks to attract tourists through the national MICE strategy, how do we bridge the gap between public safety and the best entertainment experience? Harnessing safety measures to profit the entertainment (nightlife experience) sector should be a differentiating factor and a top priority. This also calls for innovative safety methods that work for everyone, including our businesspeople.

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