The government will today launch the nation’s first solidarity fund, Agaciro, which will be financed through voluntary donations from Rwandans and friends of Rwanda.
President Paul Kagame is expected to formally launch the awareness campaign at Kigali Serena Hotel
Agaciro is a Kinyarwanda word loosely translated to mean dignity or self-worth.
The initiative to set up the fund was floated at the 2011 National Dialogue (Umushyikirano), and follows a tradition of innovative homegrown solutions geared towards development programmes by the government.
Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF) aims at engaging Rwandans to participate directly in their own development and will be measured by the level of participation received from all Rwandans.
For the fund to be a success, the government targets to apply a broad outreach programmes like the use of radios, TV, SMS with mobile phones and social media networks like Facebook, Twitter among others.
“It is important for everyRwandan to feel a level of ownership in their nation’s development by making these types of contributions to the fund and witnessing achievements,” John Rwangombwa, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said ahead of the launch.
“We will feel the unwavering commitment of each Rwandan to this country’s economic transformation”.
Agaciro Development Fund will be used to fund national priority projects which will be picked from ideas given by Rwandans.
The funds are collected through three bank accounts: namely, the National Bank of Rwanda (Account Number 120.50.72. Swift code BNRWRW Branch: Headquarter); Bank of Kigali (040-0424687-43 Swift code: BKIGRWRW Branch: Headquarter), and Bank Populaire 408-369-34 98-11 Swift code: bprwrwrw Branch: Headquarter), where individuals and groups of people can make direct deposits.
For those outside Rwanda, the government opened a website for the fund, http://www.agaciro.org, which has a window for debit or credit card money transfers.
Donations to the fund can be made through SMS text messages to 2020, example; Agaciro (space) 500 which will deduct Rwf500 of airtime from the users account.
So far, millions of francs have been deposited on the fund’s accounts.
Rwangombwa emphasised that the fund was not a result of Rwanda’s recent aid disbursement delays.
“It is important we stress that this fund is not to be thought of as a counter reaction to aid as it was thought of before. Rwanda has always viewed the goal to become aid independent, we have always valued the partnership that we have shared with many of our donors.
“The fund will work in tandem with all our development policies to build more autonomous and sustainable Rwandan economy for the future,” he noted.
However, AgDF will not replace existing funding or revenue sources such as taxation or development assistance but will compliment them. Agaciro Development Fund has no target number as the primary objective is for as many Rwandans and well wishers as possible to participate.
The management and distribution of the funds will be undertaken by citizen trustees once the Finance Ministry has established the initial legal and constitutional framework.