Over Rwf130 million was raised during separate fund raising drives for the Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF) in Belgium and Uganda, at the weekend.
The Rwandan Diaspora in Belgium raised Rwf110m at a function held at the Rwandan embassy in Brussels.
Meanwhile, the Rwandan community in Uganda and friends of Rwanda raised 100 million Ugandan shillings (about Rwf24.4m) in cash and pledges at the launching ceremony that took place at the Kampala International University (KIU).
Participants in Belgium promised to organise similar functions in various towns in the country.
And the Ugandan ceremony also paved way for a planned grand AgDF event scheduled for November this year in Kampala expected to draw thousands of members of the Banyarwanda community, friends and well wishers.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda Frank Mugambage said the AgDF is just one of the many other home grown solutions that Rwandans have chosen as a way of preserving their dignity and promoting development.
“It should be stressed that Rwandans have gained strength and determination from the achievements and progress made out of their collective efforts,” he said.
Mugambage observed that the momentum generated for the Fund since its launch is further proof and a vote of confidence that Rwandans have in their leadership and vision.
The event was marked by Rwandan cultural performances with several speakers promising to mobilise others to be part of the initiative.
“I call on the young generation to take the initiative forward. We should promote our culture of being self dependent in whatever we do,” said Urayeneza Bagakunde, an elder of the Banyarwanda community in Uganda.
Mark Karemera, a resident of Mukono district, said he didn’t have the money to contribute right away, but that he would tell others about the idea and make his contribution in the future.
Olive Kigongo, the Chairperson of the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI), commended the idea of the fund, saying it is a sure way of reducing dependency on foreign aid.
Donat Kananura, the Chairman of the Banyarwanda community in Uganda, noted that dignity is derived from self respect and called on all Rwandans to be proud of their culture.
For the KIU Vice Chancellor, Mohammed Ndaula, the AgDF is a timely initiative because the African continent only gained political independence and still lacks economic independence.