Kigali, 12 July 2014
President Kagame today addressed over 2500 members of over 750 cooperatives from across Rwanda, who gathered at Petit Stade to mark the International Day of Cooperatives.
In his address, President Kagame said there is no doubt about the role played by cooperatives in reducing poverty and boosting the economy of the country:
“The significance of cooperatives lies in people coming together for mutual benefits. It is in the same spirit that we have regional integration, where our countries in the region have decided to come together to reap the benefits of working as a block to find solutions to common problems. When people are together, they minimise the impact of losses and multiply benefits.”
President Kagame said forming and joining cooperatives is the quickest means of making quick wins in various areas.
“As we celebrate 20 years of liberation, it is essential to recognize cooperatives and your role in our liberation from poverty. Established cooperatives should devise better ways to increase their revenue s and investments and attract more people to join so that more Rwandans can benefit and change their lives. Cooperatives mean working together, joining hands and achieving more together than we can achieve individually. It is about achieving our goal as Rwandans and as Africans and becoming self reliant. It’s a matter of choice“
President Kagame also asked that cooperative leaders who pursue self interest at the expense of other members should be held accountable. He said that those involved in the process of establishing the proposed cooperative bank should be able to determine, in the quickest time possible, whether or not this is a viable venture, to avoid keeping members waiting in vain.
The Minister of Trade and Industry who also awarded the best performing cooperatives in the country said cooperatives have played a big role in promoting local investments and the culture of saving, which has boosted the economy.
The Director General of the Rwanda Cooperatives Agency Mugabo Damien recognised the contribution of the Government and President Kagame in promoting the growth of cooperatives in Rwanda.
The president of the umbrella association of cooperatives, Augustin Katabarwa said cooperatives all over the country have over time organised themselves and now command numerous capital in investments, which has greatly transformed the lives of members.