President Paul Kagame today launched the newly created solidarity fund, the Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF), which was set up to raise more domestic resources to help accelerate economic development.
Kagame said the Fund would not replace traditional sources of state revenues, including donor aid, but will supplement them.
“Aid is never enough, we need to complement it with home-grown schemes,” the President said, urging Rwandans and Africans, in general, to work harder with a view to sustain themselves. “We are not changing our relations with our partners, but rather adding value. More dignity can only help.”
He added: “No people in the world, no nation in the history of the world that has ever progressed with assistance of others.”
The President urged leaders to make regular contributions to the Fund, which he said was a long-term initiative. Kagame also called on ordinary Rwanda to make voluntary contributions, regardless of the amount.
Following the launch of AgDF, several corporates announced institutional and individual staff contributions, which together ran into hundreds of millions of Rwandans Francs. Individual Rwandans, including a motorcyclist and cleaner, also took to the floor, and made contributions, with the former doing it through SMS. Businesses and public servants also made pledges. Over Rwf1.2 billion ($2 million) were raised immediately.
Members of the cabinet were among the first to contribute to AgDF weeks ago, with more Rwf33.5 million.
The idea to establish the Fund was floated during last year’s National Dialogue (Umushyikirano). The Fund will be managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, which also put in place mechanisms for accountability.