IFC invests US$10m in Rwanda to support small business growth

RWANDA – The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced a US$10 million loan investment in I&M Bank Rwanda to increase the bank’s capital base, increase lending to small and medium enterprises in addition to creating jobs in various sectors.

The investment aims to provide financial incentives to smaller business in the agricultural, tourism, trade and commercial sectors, all to support small business and economic growth.

IFC, a member of the World Bank said it is promoting increased access to finance for small-to-medium scale enterprises in support of the Government of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 which seeks to transform the country into a knowledge-based, middle-income country and a regional technology and finance hub.

While SMEs account for 98% of all businesses and contributing more than half of Rwanda’s gross domestic product, most of them lack sufficient access to finance, reveals IFC.

The loan comes to fill an estimated US$1.2 billion finance gap, promoting access to finance for SMEs and other underserved market segments.

“We are delighted with the continued partnership between IFC and I&M Bank. We have built a solid SME portfolio, and by training our clients in financial skills’ workshops, we have seen their businesses strengthen and grow.

Thanks to IFC’s support, we will explore new and evolving sectors like tourism, energy and agri-business, while continuing to exert considerable influence on existing businesses,” said Robin Bairstow, Chief Executive Officer of I&M Bank Rwanda.

Expanding SME financing especially in developing economies such as in Sub-Saharan Africa promotes growth in the sector, jobs creation and innovation.

SME’s are faced with various challenges including a situation where commercial banks have little trust in giving them loans, making it difficult for expansion and growth of the businesses.

Commenting on the matter, Robin Bairstow, Chief Executive Officer of I&M Bank Rwanda said, “We are delighted by the continued partnership between IFC and I&M Bank.

We have built a strong SME portfolio, and by training our clients in financial skills, makes us proud when we see their businesses boom to growth.

Thanks to IFC’s support, we will continue to explore and identify new and evolving sectors like energy, mining, hotel and agri-business to mention but a few, while continuing to exert influence on existing businesses.”

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