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Beacon to the world

December 12, 2012

Dear Sir:

I was encouraged to be in attendance at the recent National Day of Prayer, and in the company of Madam Premier the Honorable Paula Cox, members of her Cabinet and members of the Opposition. To Govd be the glory!

Post-facto, I am responding to the call that encourages civil servants within the Bermuda Government and members of the community at large, in all integrity, to proffer ideas that will confirm this Island nation’s status as a beacon to the rest of the World (blessed as we are).

Convincingly, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I voiced it this way: ‘Fail not your country and give the utmost of yourselves to the service of your country. Let honesty and devotion be the guiding force in your work, for it is only when these virtues are employed in full measure that you can help in the fulfillment of the objectives of your country’s economic and social development.’

As a regular visitor to the African continent, I am constantly inspired with the innovation that exists within Our ancestral homeland, and, at a time when concerns have heightened in these islands with regards to the servicing of Bermuda’s national debt and correspondingly investment for future generations, I wish to suggest the following example to Bermuda nationals, friends of Bermuda and Bermuda Diasporians alike. I think that you will concur with the sheer brilliance of the AGACIRO (Dignity) initiative launched in the African country of Rwanda and the impressive results that have been achieved thus far.

Rwanda today, in the wake of the 1990s genocide, is deservingly being lauded as an African success story. Its economy is robust, national energy is high, the productivity ethic is outstanding, and against this backdrop, investors are queuing to enter one of Africa’s smallest states to do business. The following news release made its rounds in the international press and appears on the website of the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda:

“President Paul Kagame today launched the newly created solidarity fund, the Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF), which was set up to raise more domestic resources to help accelerate economic development.

Kagame said the Fund would not replace traditional sources of state revenues, including donor aid, but will supplement them.

“Aid is never enough, we need to complement it with home-grown schemes,” the President said, urging Rwandans and Africans, in general, to work harder with a view to sustain themselves. “We are not changing our relations with our partners, but rather adding value. More dignity can only help.”

The President urged leaders to make regular contributions to the Fund, which he said was a long-term initiative. Kagame also called on ordinary Rwanda to make voluntary contributions, regardless of the amount.

Following the launch of AgDF, several corporates announced institutional and individual staff contributions, which together ran into hundreds of millions of Rwandans Francs. Individual Rwandans, including a motorcyclist and cleaner, also took to the floor, and made contributions, with the former doing it through SMS. Businesses and public servants also made pledges. Over Rwf1.2 billion ($2 million) were raised immediately.

Members of the cabinet were among the first to contribute to AgDF weeks ago, with more Rwf33.5 million.

The idea to establish the Fund was floated during last year’s National Dialogue (Umushyikirano). The Fund will be managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, which also put in place mechanisms for accountability.

Find more information on Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF) on www.agaciro.org”

For my part, I stand at the ready to contribute to a localised initiative.



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Published December 19, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm)

Beacon to the world

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