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Rwanda honours its friends with Igihango medals

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT & AGENCIES | Hezi Bezalel, Howard Buffett, Gilbert Chagoury, John Dick, Paul Farmer, Alain and Dafroza Gauthier, Linda Melvern, and Joseph Ritchie. Nine names, eight of them foreign and one Rwandan were on Nov. 18 awarded medals of honour for their outstanding friendship pact ‘Igihango’ with Rwanda. They comprised businessmen, philanthropists, journalists, and human rights activists. The Independent profiles them:

Hezi Bezalel

Hezi Bezalel (born 1951) is an Israeli businessman. He is active mostly in Israel, the US, Britain, India, and various countries in Africa. He serves as the Honorary Consul of Rwanda in Israel.

Bezalel was born in Basra, Iraq and moved with his family to Israel when he was 5 years old. The family settled in the Or Yehuda Absorption Camp, and later on moved to Ramat Gan. During his military service, he served as a tank commander in the Yom Kippur War. He later began his Economics studies at the Tel Aviv University. Following the completion of his M.A in Economics, he began teaching at the Tel Aviv University as well as the Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva. He worked as Prof. Haim Ben Shachar’s teaching assistant and initiated his PhD studies in London.

He moved from Israel to Kenya in the 1980s, where he established an investment bank in Nairobi, on behalf of a British investment group. In Africa, he became involved in investment banking, project implementation and financing and other businesses. He developed personal relationships with various stakeholders in Africa, such as the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. In 1994, he established the “Efforte” holding group, that held real estate, mining, agriculture, aviation and other assets.

Bezalel is a close and personal friend of Rwandan President, Paul Kagame.

Howard Buffett

Howard Graham Buffett (born December 16, 1954) is an American businessman, former politician, philanthropist, photographer, farmer, and conservationist. He is the middle child of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

As the CEO and Chairman of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Buffett has traveled to over 130 countries to document the challenges of preserving biodiversity and providing adequate resources to support human demands. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation supports projects in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, water, humanitarian, conservation, and conflict/unaccompanied persons. The foundation focuses much of its funding on communities in Africa and Central America. In March 2014, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation donated USD $23.7 million, as part of a joint three-year initiative between HGBF, the Nature Conservation Trust and South African National Parks, to combat the poaching of Rhino in South Africa.

Joseph Ritchie

Joseph Ritchie (born 1947) is an options and commodities trader, international businessman, presidential advisor, serial entrepreneur, aviator and father of ten. In 1977 he founded Chicago Research and Trading (CRT) and currently serves as the head of Fox River Partners. According to BusinessWeek, “Ritchie is widely acknowledged to be one of the sharpest minds in the options business.

Ritchie’s businesses reach worldwide, with joint ventures in Russia in the early 1990s and companies in Japan beginning in the early 2000s. He was also involved in country development with foreign policy in Afghanistan in the late 1990s and economic development in Rwanda as the former CEO of the Rwandan Development Board up until the end of 2009. He currently serves as co-chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council for Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame.

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