Genocide survivors investment fund

GAERG celebrates its 15th Anniversary in 2019 (c. The New Times)
GAERG celebrates its 15th Anniversary in 2019 (c. The New Times)

Genocide survivors launch Rwf50 million investment fund

By Julius Bizimungu, The New Times

Groupe des Anciens Etudiants et Elèves Rescapés du Genocide (GAERG), an organisation founded by Rwandan graduate Genocide survivors, has launched an investment trust Fund, dubbed G-Innovation Development Fund (GIDF).

The Fund is a pool of investments aimed at assisting young survivors and the youth to create and grow their businesses.

The Rwf 50 million (around £50,000) initial capital was raised from Survivors Fund (SURF) Rwanda and other donors, they say.

According to the organisation’s leadership, the Fund will invest in businesses at various stages, including seed stage, late stage and early stage.

It will consider financing either for the expansion of small to medium businesses or for small start-ups from across Rwanda.

“We already have members who run small businesses but also have those who have ideas that can be turned into viable ventures. We want this Fund to invest in them,” said Egide Gatari, the organisation’s president, before adding that some members do poultry businesses and other small scale trading activities.

Gatari, who is also one of the trustees, told The New Times that the Fund largely seeks to create employment opportunities for young survivors and other youth groups.

Currently, more than 50 per cent of the organisation’s members are unemployed, according to its leaders.

The organisation is comprised of more than 3,000 members.

The Fund, Gatari adds, will collaborate with the organisation’s career and healing centre, which was also launched on Sunday.

Specifically, the survivors will go through capacity building at the centre before being given the capital to start their own businesses.

Liaison Group will act as the fund manager for G-Innovation Development Fund.

The company operates in markets like United Kingdom, China, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.

The Fund is open-ended, meaning it is willing to attract investments from anyone.

It has an independent board of trustees appointed by GAERG and is made up of six people who have diverse experience in finance and business, law and youth related issues.

According to Fidele Nsengiyaremye, the Fund’s Managing Trustee, they plan to raise resources from different development partners, private investors as well as members.

He said they have a great board of trustees who they strongly believe know where there is a gap and that they trust they will drive the Fund’s growth to another level.

Nsengiyaremye highlighted that they plan to mobilise more than Rwf120 million from 1,000 members.

“We aim to mobilise about 1,000 members to invest in the Fund and we target to at least raise Rwf120 million in the first year of Fund’s operations. We also target to have 50 individual investors as well as two development partners,” he noted.

Through the Fund, he added, they plan to support and invest in 50 and 100 businesses that have potential to grow in the first and second years of operations, respectively.

GAERG believe tackling the issue of unemployment requires collective efforts.

“What we have developed, therefore, is a platform for everyone to use and support the youth,” Nsengiyaremye said.

Normally, firms or individuals set up investment trust funds to get access to a much wider and more diversified portfolio of investments more easily. But the rise of value of investment in such funds depends on good decisions made by the board of trustees.

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