I can remind myself in 2012 when I was a gentle journalist at one of Rwanda’s popular news website where I worked as News Editor, Reporter, Social media Manager as well as the Company’s Editorial Media reviewer especially on Every Monday of the Week when I had to go through The East African Newspaper looking for the big stories that can support ours at my still role Model Media House.
In 2012, there was a time in Rwandan political space that I will not forget how Government officials managed to sort-out the situation and days later President Paul Kagame launched a mind-set changer Self-Reliance Campaign “Kwigira” which some criticized and others went to pieces that Rwanda’s again going to Collapse without foreign Aids.
In a space of one week in July, the Netherlands, Germany, UK and USA announced they would cut their aid to Rwanda over its alleged involvement in the rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which was another pointer to the dangers of Western aid to poor countries.
In the week the donors cut aid to Rwanda, a low level official in the State Department had the audacity to threaten President Paul Kagame with indictment before the ICC – an institution his own country has refused to subject itself to.
President Kagame who has been threatened to be indicted following false allegation that his countrymen invaded the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo decided to shift his focus on his own citizens than always maneuvering Relations with countries whose aids had been used as instruments of manipulating the authority of Rwanda.
The following Year in the fiscal year 2013/2014, the government of Rwanda will spend a total of Frw 1,653.5 trillion, an increase of Frw 103.7 billion compared to 2012/13 revised budget. This increase was largely aimed to achieve the new strategies and emerging priorities that are critical to Rwanda’s development and transformation.
The shortfall in aid inflows at the time hampered the ability of the National Bank of Rwanda to continue meeting market demand for foreign exchange, leading to a depreciation of 4.5 percent over the year 2012 against 1.6 percent recorded in the previous year.
Due to aid cuts, proportion of Government budget from development aid declined from 86 per cent in 2000 to 43 per cent in 2011/12.
By 2013, Rwanda’s budget dependence on foreign Aid was between 43%-40percent of the total budget that the country had to spend on various development Projects.
President Kagame’s Government investment in citizens had to bring to an end the persistent dependence on aid.
In February this year, speaking at one conversation on various topics on Rwanda and Africa with Mike Milken the Chairperson of Milken Institute, Kagame said “We need to invest in our people, even countries with natural resources, it will come to waste if they don’t invest in their people,” Kagame said, adding that “Knowledge or technology are things that are beginning to be evenly distributed across the world.”
With such mindset on Self-Reliance, investing in own citizens and self-esteem, Rwanda started prevailing than the time she had much dependence on Foreign Aid.
Than ever before, presenting the budget before Rwanda’s Parliament on Thursday 13 June 2019 Seven years later, the country’s Minister of Finance said Rwanda plans to spend Frw 2,876.9 billion in the 2019/2020 Fiscal year, an increase of Frw 291.8 billion compared to Frw 2,585.1 billion in the 2018/19 revised budget.
With such amount only 17,3% of the total budget will come from donors/aids comparing with the 40% dependence in 2012 during foreign aid cuts crusade.
Based on such achievements, Finance Minister Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana said “this shows the step made so far towards the continuing self-reliance Journey”
To Sum up I wish to call upon Rwandans and youth of Rwanda to keep the vision and to contribute more of the efforts towards the country’s continuous struggle towards Sustainable development and well-being of all citizens
The Writer is Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU, Founder of TOPAFRICANEWS website