As Bank of Kigali (BK) celebrates 50 years of operation, the institution on Saturday launched a tree planting drive to boost environmental conservation.
The bank staff launched the campaign by planting 1,000 trees through community work with residents of Karangazi Sector, Nyagatare District.
Speaking to residents, Dr Diane Karusisi, Bank of Kigali’s Chief Executive Officer, said that they have observed the role of trees in the development during their 50 years of operation and decided to join hands with other institutions in charge of environment preservation and residents to plant more trees.
“Trees have crosscutting benefits to citizens and financial institutions in terms of raw materials and good working environment. When people are negatively affected, we too are affected because we can lose our clients,” she said.
“BK is opening branches across the country, and we have realised that a big number of our clients depends on cultivation, which is also supported by forests,” Karusisi noted.
Karusisi said BK is committed to use of advanced technologies to eliminate use of papers.
The executive secretary of the Eastern Province, Jean Marie Vianney Makombe, said some sectors in different districts in the province that border Akagera and Akanyaru wetlands are most affected by drought.
He appreciated the initiative by BK, saying it will help Nyagatare District address some climate change challenges.
He said that, inspired by the government’s target of 30 per cent forest cover by 2017, the Eastern Province has already covered 10.38 per cent of its territory with trees.
Dr Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Natural Resources, who was in attendance, commended BK for the initiative, saying that forests are not only important to the country but the world in terms of environment and income generation.
“It is the first time to see a private institution celebrate such an important day by doing a good act like this (planting trees) without any call from the Ministry of Natural Resources or cabinet,” Minister Biruta said.
He urged residents and agronomists to embrace agro-forestry by planting trees on their farms and pasture, road sides, home and school gardens to increase in-farm production and good environment.
“The Province still has lot to do, this is why you have to increase forest cover and ensure that the species of trees you plant will resist harsh conditions,” Biruta told residents.
Emmanuel Hitimana, a Karangazi resident, said they had come to appreciate the importance of conserving the environment.
Through Tureme Umutara Uherereye Project (TUU), implemented by Compagnie Agricole/Environment (CAE), Bank of Kigali aims at planting 150,000 trees in the district until next year.
Forests cover 28.8 per cent of Rwanda’s surface.