The ministry of gender and family promotion (Migeprof) in conjunction with the ministry of youth and ICT are launching a new strategy meant to increase access to finance for women and youth to alleviate both financial and non-financial barriers.
The strategy, 'Women and Youth Access to Finance,' was developed by the two ministries in collaboration with the Business Development Fund (BDF) and the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) to address managerial and financial challenges, explained Julienne Munyaneza, the permanent secretary in Migeprof.
"It's a milestone for us," said Rosemary Mbabazi, the permanent secretary in MYICT. "Youth and women still face challenges of lack of managerial skills and access to finance; that is why the government judged it very important to enable that big group of the population to access finance."
Women constitute 52% of the whole population while young people below 35 years make up 78.8%. Financial data indicates that women account for only 12% of the credit given out, while for youth no data are available.
According to the officials, the program will mainly focus on capacity building and training so that beneficiaries can get basics to managerial skills and then credit enhancement programs so that they can easily get loans from financial institutions.
Janet Kanyambo, the fund manager at BDF, explained that the new program will provide up to 75% of the collateral instead of the normal rate of 50% which BDF applies to SMEs. In addition, they will also get a grant of 15%.
BDF has already signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with different financial institutions, she added.
The program will target the poorest districts according to the recent Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV3). The new strategy was approved by the cabinet in June and will be officially launched at national level on November 29 in Nyaruguru district.