“…looking at where we have come from, in another 10 years we should be close to that,” said Kagame in a wide ranging interview with TIME magazine. “I can’t put a clear date on it…. We won’t have achieved it but I think we will be very close. As I said, we are stronger every day.”
Mr Kagame said a Rwanda without aid “not only makes people more independent, it actually puts them in a position where they are stronger in their beliefs, committed to them, and more advanced in things they demand of us.”
The TIME magazine interview covered a range of issues including DRC and the First Family. The interview was done at different times here in Kigali at the Presidents home, the office and on the sidelines of the ICGLR Heads of State summit in Kampala last month. The President is currently finalizing a world tour which took him to Asia this week.
The President’s comments on aid also come following the establishment of the Agaciro Development Fund in which Rwandans from all walks of life have contributed money that will be used on development programs. So far, estimates suggest in the three weeks alone, the Fund has attracted more than Rwf 17.1 billion – and still counting.
Coincidentally though, the Fund came amid donor decisions to suspend development support to Rwanda on account of alleged support for Congolese rebels. There have been suggestions the Fund was established to cover up for the lost funding. However, this is not true. The Fund has been in the making for more than four years.
Reacting to the donor withdraws, President Kagame said in the TIME magazine interview: “There has been much excitement in the media. But it’s suspension of nothing, really.”
“The Americans suspended $200,000. And the media blows it up and says: “America has turned against Rwanda.” There is jubilation. They wanted to give the world the impression. “We have got Rwanda where we wanted it.” But it’s not true. It’s $200,000 for one year. This is really silly.”
In surprise comments, the President said: “In fact, this is money that they owe us because for two sequential years they did not pay us. It’s really ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, individuals, groups of people, communities, institutions and both public and private organizations have continued to make their pledges to the Agaciro Fund every single day. The contributions towards this fund will be continuous into the years ahead and the core objective is to achieve independence.
According to Kagame, the progress of the fund depends on Rwandans and so far the participation of residents is promising. “This is just self-generated by Rwandans across the world. It shows you, even if it does not promise much money, the idea is something interesting,” said Kagame.
Read the full interview here: http://world.time.com/2012/09/14/qa-rwandan-president-paul-kagame/