Happening for the first time ever, Kwita Izina fundraising gala dinner, managed to live up to its billing by raising Rwf25 million.
The event, brought together close to 400 people; ranging from government officials, members of diplomatic corps, conservationists from across the world and members of the private sector among others.
The night of dine-and-wine, cameo performances from Mashirika arts and Jazz music from Uganda’s Isaiah Katumwa, was also attended the Nigerian singer Wizkid. The Artiste is due to perform at the Beer fest tonight.
Wizkid, who did not perform, instead joined the auction race successfully bidding for two paintings at US$2000.
“We have managed to raise, just from the auction, Rwf10 million and throughout the ticket sales we are looking at over US$10,000. I think it’s a great number,” RDB’s Kariza told journalist, at the sideline of the event.
“Every year is about celebrating the success of our conservation efforts. Something unique about this year’s Kwita Izina is the theme, “Conservation is life”; this is a strong statement. This is a way to make the population of Rwanda and even the international community aware that our conservation efforts are getting stronger, and it is proven by the increasing number of baby gorillas we name each year”.
Available figures show that Rwanda’s conservation efforts could be paying off. Of the 800 mountain gorillas in Virunga Transboundary, 440 are in Rwanda, and the trend has been growing for the last 12 years, according to Kariza.
“To give you specific number, 216 baby gorillas have been named since 2005. That’s again a stamp of approval that our conservation efforts are paying off,” she said.
Francis Gatare, the Chief Executive Officer of RDB said tourism: “remains number one foreign revenue generating activity in our country”.
Available figures indicated that in 2015, tourism earned Rwanda US$318 million (about Rwf251 billion) revenues, a 4% increase compared to 2014.
RDB estimates to that this year Tourism earnings will increase by 5 or 6 percent.
“For all of you have done; the tour operators, hospitality investor and managers we appreciate your efforts in conservation and tourism.” Gatare noted, adding that in conservation, sustainable tourism lies.
According to Gatare, this year’s Kwita Izina also brought exhibitors from 12 countries across African, showcasing traditional items and tourism packages from their respective countries. The event will kicks off on Sunday at Kigali Exhibition and Convention Village (former Camp Kigali).
Tomorrow, there will be a dialogue on Conservation and the Kwita Izina Series of events will come to a climax with the eventual Gorilla naming Ceremony in Kinigi, Musanze District.