Voluntary contributions to the newly created Agaciro Development Fund totaled more than U.S.$3 million two weeks after it was launched to help the country raise funds in light of recent aid cuts from the United States, Britain and Europe.
Contributions to the Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF) has so far reached Rwf7 billion (ca. 11,570,247 USD), the Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, disclosed two weeks ago.
Speaking at a news briefing, the Minister applauded Rwandans for giving selflessly, consequently contributing to the development of the nation.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame greets a crowd (file photo): Kagame said the new fund will not replace traditional sources of state revenues, including donor aid, but will supplement them.
“Agaciro Development Fund is voluntary contribution and it’s for the benefit of all Rwandans. We have been overwhelmed by the massive number of Rwandans willing to contribute to this Fund. We should keep up this good spirit and keep our self worth,”
The Agaciro Fund was officially launched end of August by President Paul Kagame during an even that saw initial contributions surpass Rwf1.2 billion.
The Fund, set up to supplement the existing sources of revenue, including donor aid, will finance various projects as the country seeks to accelerate its development goals as outlined in Vision 2020.
Among the outstanding contributors to the Fund were residents of Huye District in the Southern Province, who raised Rwf 1.1 billion.
As part of the drive, the management and staff members of the National University of Rwanda (NUR) raised Rwf 711 million towards the AgDF.
Speaking at the fundraising event in Huye, NUR Rector, Prof Silas Lwakabamba, congratulated all staff members and the university community for their commitment towards the country’s development.
Dr Charles Karangwa, a lecturer, reaffirmed their commitment towards the country’s development.
“As we have been actively engaged in other developmental programmes, we also understand the essence of Agaciro Fund,” Karangwa observed.
Authorities in the southern province continue with the drive to collect contributions to support the Fund. On Thursday 30th of August, at least Rwf 55 million was raised from Ruhango District residents and on Friday 31th of August, over 240 million was raised from Nyaruguru.
On the same day, Nyamagabe district held a fundraising event in which the residents raised Rwf 337 million.
Staff of the Ministry of Agriculture gave Rwf 420 million while the residents of Kicukiro district, on Sunday 2th of August, contributed Rwf 501m.
Yousuf Mudaheranwa, a resident of Kicukiro, said:
“My family had decided to contribute Rwf 5 million, but because I have understood the role of this fund, I raised it to Rwf 7 million.”
The Mayor of Kicukiro, Paul Jules Ndamage, thanked the residents for the huge contribution and said it was just the beginning.
The Finance Minister noted that the government wants to find a way of making the fund sustainable since it will have a big impact on the development of the nation, especially in reducing poverty.
Two weeks ago the minister told journalists that different modalities were being devised to facilitate Rwandans make their contributions.
“Some have even suggested a kind of a voucher that can be availed at all retail shops where someone can just buy it and automatically the money goes to the fund and these are some of the options we are still looking at. Our wish is to ensure that everyone who wants to make a contribution is facilitated to do so,” Rwangombwa said