11 February 2013

Rwanda: Aid Cut a Boon - President

KIGALI, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame says his country will emerge stronger from the ongoing forced involvement in the DRC crisis that has seen some donors withholding aid.

The firm speaking leader said in Kigali that, that could be a blessing in disguise for the country to learn to fend for itself.

"This is not the first time donors are cutting aid to Rwanda, but as Rwandans we should learn from what is happening and put it in context- we did some soul-searching to stop being fully dependant on foreign aid," said the President.

Kagame was speaking during his monthly press conference at Village Urugwiro (the president's office) in which he revealed that his Government has already realigned the country's budget in light of the delayed or with held budgetary aid.

In the wake of the Rwanda/DRC hullabaloo that followed a questionable report by a group of experts on Congo, Rwanda launched a national voluntary fund called the 'Agaciro development fund(AgDF)' to which Rwandans can contribute cash to help government fund some of its programs without entirely depending on aid. By the end of 2012, the fund which is being monitored by the ministry of Finance and planning had realized over RWF20billion with many more contributions still coming.

President Kagame said his country is committed to work with the DRC, maintain good relations with its people despite altercations engineered by elements in the international community.

Kagame expressed concerns that the aid halts might slow down the economic growth of the country hitting that already growth targets for 2012 were not met revealing that the economy grew at 7.5% rather than the 9% that had been predicted.

"By cutting aid, they are not punishing the leaders but the poor people who can't afford to take back their children to school. We are adjusting to priotise the key economic sectors for a better cause," he said.

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