The New Times (Kigali)

23 November 2012

Rwanda: BK Gives Rwf 4 Billion in Loans to Low Income Earners

In a period of one year, bank of Kigali has disbursed Rwf4 billion through its micro lending product to finance small businesses targeting youth and women.

Under this window BK funds between Rwf 100,000 to Rwf 5,000,000 start up capital to its clients with no need for collateral.

Lawson Naibo, BK's Chief Operating Officer, said it's the bank's responsibility to contribute to the social and economic development of Rwandans.

"Microfinance is widely recognised as an important development success story precisely because it has succeeded in leveraging the private sector to address development outcomes," noted Lawson.

He said that the bank will ensure that access to finance is made easier to all Rwandans for instance through the Mobile banking vans operating under a service branded BK MobiBank, for then would be able to serve a bigger number of those under banked.

Mukasinye Helena one of the beneficiaries said she was given a loan of Rwf 100,000 and invested in selling potatoes and banana in Nyamirambo market now able to buy products in bulk.

She says before, she used to buy goods on credit from other traders.

"Bank of Kigali has financially transformed my life. I am now able to make my own purchases, pay my loan comfortably and my six children are able to eat healthy meals and go to school. I don't know where I would be without BK loan," said Helen.

Aline Rwigimba, BK's Micro lending Manager said that the product has attracted over 5000 active accounts holders, with 90 per cent of them being women.

"We have so many success stories and we are proud that many lives are being financially transformed," said Aline Rwigimba.

Zahra Nyirababiligi a dealer in popular African fabrics (Bitenge) acquired micro-lending loans to a tune of Rwf10, million which she used to expand her business that was struggling.

Apart from expanding her business, Nyirababiligi says she also bought a Daihatsu car to make deliveries to her customers and a house which she says she will now use as collateral to access more finance.

"As a single mother with 5 children to look after, life was very tough. BK's small loan was the turning point of my struggling business," she said.

According to a report by International Labor Organization women are proven to be very good credit risks with high repayment ratios.

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