Development Bank of Rwanda and I&M Bank have secured €24 million (about Rwf25 billion from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support Rwanda’s small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs). The two banks signed the loan agreement with EIB for funding in Kigali yesterday. According to the deal, BRD got €15 million loan and I&M Bank €9 million.
The funding is expected to boost job-creation, trade investments and help fast-track Rwanda’s economic development, said Maria Shaw-Barragan, the EIB director in charge of lending operations outside Europe. “The two new credit lines represent continued support for private sector investment in Rwanda by the long-term lending institution of the European Union in more than 40 years,” she said.
So far, EIB has provided a total of €87 million to fund SMEs and micro-enterprises in the country through dedicated lending programmes managed by local banks.
Robin Bairstow, the I&M Bank chief, said the loan will help the lender in “building of a strong SME portfolio”. “This will make it possible to fund new sectors such as tourism and agribusiness,” He said adding that the assistance has enabled the bank build the capacity of staff and SMEs through quarterly financial skills training workshops.
Speaking at the deal signing, Eric Rutabana, the BRD chief executive officer, said the loan “is a timely effort that will help boost Rwanda’s business competitiveness”.
He added that funding SMEs is crucial as they create new jobs and support other government development programmes.
Ambassador Nicola Bellomo, the head of the European Union Delegation in Rwanda, said the EU recognises the “crucial role of private sector investment toward supporting sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty. “This new initiative by EIB, builds on a proven track record of helping companies across East Africa, including here in Rwanda, to expand.”
Robin Bairstow the I&M Bank managing director says that the new line will make it possible to explore new sectors such as tourism and Agribusiness.