Rwanda to launch ‘diaspora wealth fund’

Aug 23, 2012
<p>New type of sovereign wealth fund to be sponsored by the diaspora community in an effort to wean the country off foreign aid</p>

A government-backed initiative to create a sovereign wealth fund in Rwanda should materialize this week. The project is spearheaded by members of the diaspora who support President Paul Kagame, a prime activist for Africa’s self-sufficiency.

This new fund, the first of its kind, will be named the Agaciro Development Fund. ‘Agaciro’ is a Kinyarwanda word meaning ‘dignity’.

The fund’s purpose is to receive contributions from individuals, groups or institutions inside and outside of the country.

‘The idea is to mobilise voluntary resources from Rwandans and well-wishers that would complement government resources and expedite our development programs towards achieving the Vision 2020’ said finance minister John Rwangombwa in AfricanGlobe.

Rwanda, like a number of other African countries, is heavily dependent on foreign aid. The new fund aims to minimize its reliance on donations, which fund 50 percent of the country’s budget.

Indeed, contributions have dried up over the past few months. The US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands, which are major donors to Rwanda, cancelled more than $70 mn in financial aid following allegations by the UN that the government was supporting the rebel group M23 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Intelligence consultancy Exclusive Analysis predicts that the Rwandan government will probably seek to attract new investors for its partial privatization program, reaching out to Asian countries and Turkey, which have been less vocal about the suspected support to M23.

The campaign is expected to affect companies in the agricultural, banking, tourism and ICT sectors.

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