The engagement follows IFC’s $10 million subordinated loan to I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc. in May 2018 to strengthen the bank’s capital base, and help it increase lending to small enterprise. The advisory project with I&M Bank, the oldest Bank in the country and one of the largest, is the first for IFC in Rwanda.
By promoting increased access to finance for underserved SMEs, I&M Bank is supporting the Government’s National Strategy for Transformation and the Vision 2050, focused on transforming the country into a knowledge-based, middle-income country, and a regional technology and finance hub.
Robin Bairstow, Chief Executive Officer of I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc., said, “By working with IFC to build strong banking products for small business customers, we will reach more SMEs to drive growth in the country.”
Manuel Moses, IFC Country Manager, said, “SME finance is an important tool to create jobs. It’s not just about making more finance available; it’s about creating opportunities for small businesses to thrive.”
SMEs account for 98 percent of all businesses in Rwanda, and contribute more than half of its total gross domestic product. However, small businesses struggle to access finance, leading to an estimated $1.2 billion credit gap. IFC’s advisory project will promote access to finance for SMEs, with a special focus on women-owned businesses.
Faustin Byishimo, Executive Director and Divisional Head for Business Development of I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc. said, “This Bank’s strategic initiative is the first of its kind in the country. The partnership with IFC is the start of a great journey towards positioning the Bank as the SME go to financial institution for both their financing and transaction banking requirements.”
Riadh Naouar, Manager for Financial Institutions Group Advisory in the Middle East and Africa, said “When we work with partners to increase small business access to finance, we build strong businesses that can create jobs and drive economic growth.”
IFC is playing a significant role in improving finance access for SMEs, which are a source of growth, jobs and innovation. However, access to finance remains a leading constraint to SME growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 350 million new jobs will be needed in the next 20 years. Small businesses account for 30 to 60 percent of the gross domestic product and 67 percent of jobs in the region. Globally, in FY18, our clients provided nearly $365 billion in SME loans.
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