Residents of Kagunga II, a village in Kagunga Cell, Gikondo Sector of Kicukiro District consisting 94 households have vowed to contribute meaningfully to their own and the country’s development.
They pooled Rwf1,024,000 which they handed over to the Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF) officials on Saturday.
“Though we have been contributing towards the Fund in our individual capacities, it was right to contribute as a village. We agreed that every household contributes Rwf12,000, which we collected over one year to ease the strain on the families,” said Mathieu Ntegano, the village head.
According to him, if all villages with capable residents followed suit, the Fund, which was established with an aim of boosting the country’s financial autonomy, would get a substantial boost.
“We (Rwandans) deserve better…we should support efforts to find local solutions to our problems instead of always relying on foreign aid,” he noted.
Hellen Mwihoreze, one of the residents of the village, said: “We made contributions in a bid to achieve financial self-reliance and dignity. We believe that the money will give us something to be proud of. Imagine having a road that was built by money from the Fund and how much pride it would bring”?
The Gikondo Sector Executive Secretary, Nathan Kanyesigye, said that Kagunga II’s contribution shows the commitment the village has toward the country’s self-reliance, adding that other villages should follow suit.
“Kagunga II has set the bar high and we should all emulate them,” he said.
The AgDF Chief Executive Officer, Jack Kayonga, thanked the residents for the unique initiative saying they had valuable lessons to give to many across the country.
“What you have done is beyond the over Rwf1 million you contributed. All Rwandans should learn from you and know that building the country is not a responsibility for some, rather, for all of us,” Kayonga told the residents.
Launched on August 23, 2012, AgDF is a solidarity trust fund initiated to bolster the country’s financial autonomy and achieve dignity and self-reliance.
The idea for the fund was first mooted in 2011 during the National Dialogue (Umushyikirano).
So far, the Fund has raised about Rwf36 billion, according to Kayonga.
He added that they had mainly invested in financial institutions so that they are accessed by Rwandans.
The Fund has also invested in government treasury bonds and all the investments have so far returned Rwf4 billion in profits, he added.
Economic experts say that systematic domestic (funds) mobilisation, savings and investments are a sustainable way to guard against external financial shocks, which are difficult to control as they are beyond a country’s powers.