The New Times (Kigali)

17 September 2012

Africa: Diaspora in Agaciro Drive

The Rwandan community in different cities across the world have launched fund raising drives for the Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF).

In Kenya, the drive was launched last week in Nairobi.

According to a statement from the Rwandan High Commission in Nairobi, the function was presided over by Rwanda's representatives in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Christopher Bazivamo, who is also the National Vice chairman of RPF and Patricia Hajabakiga, as well as the Rwandan High Commissioner designate, Yamina Karitanyi.

Two accounts were opened, one in US dollars and another in Kenya shillings [account numbers 6503940078 USD and 6503940065 Kshs] at the Commercial Bank of Africa.

"The RPF vice chairman requested the Kenyan Diaspora to support and contribute to the Fund. He informed the audience that so far Rwf16 bn had been contributed in Rwanda, and the money will be well utilised on essential developmental projects," reads part of the statement.

Current figures indicate that the fund has actually collected more than Rwf17 billion.

Bazivamo pledged $1,000 as his contribution to opening the Agaciro Development Fund in Kenya. He reportedly reiterated that Rwandans decided to enthusiastically contribute to the fund to render support to government efforts in developmental programs.

He explained that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) is in preparation of celebrating 25 years of existence and that even though a lot has been achieved in terms of development, "there is still more to be done and the celebration will reflect where more efforts are needed."

Hajabakiga emphasized that as RPF celebrates 25 years of existence, it is an opportunity "to reflect on our past" and adequately plan for the future.

Elsewhere, Rwandans in Tanzania contributed 75,500 USD during the launch on Friday.

Rwanda's High Commissioner to Tanzania Ben Rugaganzi presided over the launch at his residence in Dar es Salaam and urged the Diaspora members to continue mobilising and organising those who are not yet aware of the development fund.

"The AgDF launching and mobilization will be done in phases. After Dar es Salaam, next will be Arusha and Mwanza where Diaspora numbers are considerably large," he told The New Times in an interview.

"Efforts will be made to reach out to Rwandans living in small towns throughout Tanzania."

Quoting former US President John F Kennedy's words, "Do not ask for what your country can do for you but rather; ask for what you can do for your country ", Rugaganzi reminded the audience that Rwanda's relevance and dignity will be derived from their present contribution to the development of their country.

"Later as the concept is well understood and appreciated then friends of Rwanda will be approached in a prudent manner," Rugaganzi added.

Meanwhile, in Belgium, Ambassador Robert Masozera told The New Times that the Rwandan community there plans to launch AgDF on September 29 during "a big fundraising drive."

The Rwandan embassy in Brussels has sent out invitations to all Rwandans who can make it to the two-day event which will include a get together 'Ubusabane.'

In South Africa, Vincent Karega, Rwanda's High Commissioner, who is also in charge of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Mauritius, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia, said the mobilisation is making good progress.

Karega said: "We launched at the same time and date with Kigali. We are busy registering deposits from our Diaspora members in our Agaciro account. The process is active and going on very smoothly in all countries we cover."

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