Rwanda: Equity Bank to boost SME lending

Jul 24, 2014

Equity Bank Group is to significantly increase its funding to the small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), real estate and manufacturing sectors.

Equity Bank Group is to significantly increase its funding to the small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), real estate and manufacturing sectors.

James Mwangi, the Group Managing Director, said the sectors were instrumental in the achievement of the country's second economic development and poverty reduction strategy, The New Times reports.

He added that
the bank, having made considerable gains in the Rwandan market over the last three years, was looking to tap into its balance sheet to lend up to $150 million (€111.4 million) to individual projects in a bid to boost the country's development agenda.

Mr Mwangi noted that the bank's SME support is aimed at creating jobs and boosting the number of firms listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange, as well as reducing imports by producing goods locally.

The banker said Equity will also work closely with the government to ensure that the micro-economic environment supports and sustains low interest rates on credit.

In January, the government of Rwanda announced its plan to focus on improving access to finance for
SMEs in 2014.

President Paul Kagame asked the relevant institutions overseeing SMEs to develop easier ways for small business
owners
to access loans.

Currently, Rwanda has about
100,000
SMEs. The sector makes up 98 per cent of all businesses in the country and
is
considered a vital segment of Rwanda's economic growth.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801737312-ADNFCR