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Another Friend of Rwanda Gone: Joe Ritchie Passes On

by Edmund Kagire
1:58 pm

Rwanda lost another friend in Joe Ritchie.

Rwanda has lost two great friends in 24hrs, following the passing of Joe Ritchie, an American businessman and presidential advisor, which was announced on Tuesday, February 22. Joe Ritchie’s passing follows that of Dr. Paul Farmer, another American physician and philanthropist who died on Monday, February 21, 2022.

Joe Ritchie, who was the first CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), died in the U.S at the age of 75. He was also a member of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), which he had co-chaired since 2007 and a close friend of President Paul Kagame.

Coincidentally, Joe Ritchie and Dr. Farmer were both recognised President Paul Kagame, who awarded them with the country’s highest medal of honour ‘Igihango’ for their contribution to the country’s development.

Joe Ritchie receiving the ‘Igihango’ medal from President Kagame.

Joseph Ritchie (born 1947) made a name as an options and commodities trader who became an 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.

RDB, the institution he oversaw, led condolences on Tuesday

“The Board, Management and Staff of the Rwanda Development Board extend their deepest condolences to the family of Joseph Ritchie, who passed away today. As a founding CEO of RDB, Ritchie played a crucial role in improving the doing business environment in Rwanda and was involved in several initiatives to promote investment,”

“He was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council and was awarded the Igihango National Order of Outstanding Friendship medal for his exemplary service to the nation. He will be sorely missed.” RDB said in a statement.


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