Kagame and his propaganda machine, the New Times and KT Press, used to boast that the Agaciro Development Fund

By David Himbara

Kagame and his propaganda machine, the New Times and KT Press, used to boast that the Agaciro Development Fund was already serving its purposes of lessening foreign aid dependence and maintaining economic stability in times of economic crisis. So, what role has the Fund played during Covid19 pandemic? Zero.

General Paul Kagame conceived the Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF) as a vehicle for self-reliance, maintaining stability in times of economic shocks, and prosperity creation. When he launched it in 2012, he famously boasted that AgDF would empower Rwanda to end the culture of begging for handouts from rich countries. As Kagame put it, “We are as smart as the next person, we have arms like everybody else…Why does a citizen from another country have to support Rwandans? Why? When will we change that mentality and realise that nobody owes you that support? Then you need to do what it takes to support yourself.” In 2019, the New Timesboasted that “Rwanda’s Agaciro Fund continues to grow and has clinched the US$100 million mark. This money is untapped.” By 2020, KT Press was bragging that AgDF’s total assets had hit the RWF184 Billion mark “equivalent to about $200 million,” adding that “the superb growth was attributed to the strategic investments it made.”

So what role has AgDF played in maintaining stability during the Covid19 pandemic? None. Contrary to KT Press’ big lie that AgDF accumulated US$200 million in wealth and the New Times’ falsehood that AgDF has US$100 million in untapped wealth, AgDF remains a dwarf. The AgDFindicated in 2020 that in eight years since it was established, it had grown to a mere RWF52.3 billion in total assets or US$52.5 million from RWF20 billion or US$20 million in 2012. Meanwhile, Rwanda’s dependence on aid handouts remains sky high. According to the World Bank, 59.5 percent of Rwanda’s central government expense comes from aid, while the country is averaging US$1.1 billion in foreign aid annually. In 2020, the IMF named Rwanda among the world’s “25 poorest and most vulnerable” alongside such countries as Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Sierra Leone Togo, and Yemen. Stay tuned.