By Paul Ntambara
As the mobilisation for Agaciro Development Fund continues to gain momentum, the private sector, seen as the driver of the economy, has joined in the quest by Rwandans to contribute tangibly to the country’s development agenda.
Agaciro development fund initiative was mooted during the 2011 National Dialogue (Umushikirano); a high level meeting that brings together leaders and the rest of the citizens into dialogue under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic.
Launched in August this year, the fund that allows flexible voluntary contributions by all Rwandans as well as international friends to socio-economic prosperity of Rwanda and accelerate financial autonomy, has attracted a rousing response from the general public.
To contribute to this noble cause, the Private Sector Federation started a countrywide mobilisation of its members through all its organs (Districts, Associations and Chambers) encouraging its members, member organisations and its personnel to contribute to the initiative.
The private sector, in order to lead in the building of the national economy, must contribute significantly to all development activities that feed into the growth of the economy.
One such campaign was held on Tuesday 18th September in Nyarugenge district where over Rwf325million was raised through contributions from the business community.
For Laurent Mwenzangu, the representative of business persons in the district, contributing to the Agaciro Development Fund is a way of heeding the call by the President to search for local solutions from within instead of always relying on foreign support.
“We shall not always depend on donors to support our budget; we have to work towards self sufficiency. This journey starts now,” he said.
Hundreds of enthusiastic business persons from the district pledged in their respective capacities as individuals and cooperatives to support the fund
“As a businessman, I can’t just standby as the rest of the citizens are contributing to this noble cause, it is my duty to support the development of the country,” said Ephraim Ndayishimiye, a local trader.
Mohamed Mazimpaka, the chairman of the Commerce and Services Chamber in the Private Sector Federation noted that business people have all the means to give back to the country. He noted that such a fund exists in Countries like Tunisia and Singapore where it has been used to finance different development projects.
“Agaciro Development Fund seeks to restore our self-worth and dignity, we should take pride in contributing directly to our country’s development,” he noted.
Representing the Private Sector Federation Chairman at the event, Hannigton Namara noted that Agaciro concept emanates from the culture of the people. Namara, the PSF Chief Executive Officer noted Agaciro is reflected in different sectors like health, education, security and service delivery.
“Rwanda is not a rich country compared to its neighbours in the region but has achieved much in the last few years because of the craving to live dignified lives against all odds. Agaciro is what drives them,” Namara said.
The Agaciro Fund sets the tone that Rwandans will work together to drive their own development; giving the entire Rwandan population a higher level of direct participation and ownership in the nation’s development projects. The Fund enables Rwandans from all walks of life to take part in the development of their country in a practical and meaningful way according to but not limited by their individual means.
Money raised will be managed by Trustees who will finance projects based on agreed national priorities as well as develop appropriate mechanisms to manage and grow the fund.
According to the PSF Chief Executive Officer, all contributions from PSF members will be handed over to the Ministry of Finance at a later date.