Rwanda: Bank of Kigali in New Drive to Deepen Financial Inclusion

Sep 19, 2017 | The New Times; All Africa

Bank of Kigali says it aims at shooting three birds with one stone through its Bigereho Na BK campaign activated three weeks ago, by, first educating Rwandans on benefits of working with banks, then entice them to open or reactivate accounts and encourage them to save regularly.

While at it, the bank will reward those who participate in the three-month campaign running up to December with prizes worth hundreds of millions of francs including motorbikes, solar panels, electronics and the grand prize, a Rwf38 million Mitsubishi canter lorry. The expected return to investment of the campaign is at least 100,000 new retail accounts mainly Rwandans living in remote parts of the country most of whom rely on micro-finance and village saving schemes to obtain financial services. They also hold mainstream financial services in suspicion and see them as designed for the rich. But chief commercial officer Vincent Gatete says BK is out to promote a different philosophy altogether, but to help change the perception that banks are designed for the rich. "They say banks are designed for the rich. We are saying BK is designed to make you rich and our tagline, financially transforming lives literally means, we want to work together to create mutual wealth," says Gatete. In Bigereho, BK is also joining a national conversation on formal financial inclusion which the Government of Rwanda wants to deepen to 80 per cent by end of 2017. Findings from the 2012 FinScope Rwanda survey revealed that 72 per cent of Rwandan adults were financially included. However, only 42 per cent of them were formally served, just 23 percent served by commercial banks with another 33 per cent served by non-bank formal institutions and 58 per cent used informal financial mechanisms. With just 23 per cent of the adult population working with mainstream commercial banks, this means 77 per cent of the population can tap into BK's Bigereho campaign The education aspect of BK's Bigereho Campaign is particularly important as it addresses a key barrier that the 2012 FinScope survey pointed out as condition to meet the 2017 financial inclusion target of 80 percent. "A significant barrier to uptake of formal financial products and services was consumers' lack of awareness or understanding of how the uptake and usage of financial products would improve their lives," the report noted. Read more on All Africa. Source: All Africa