The New Times (Kigali)

8 January 2013

Rwanda: Saccos Investments Grow to Rwf 11.8 Billion

Total investments for Savings and Credit cooperatives-SACCOs have grown to Rwf 11.8 billion since 2009.

Just last year, cooperatives were able to invest Rwf 2.8 billion, an indication that there is an increase in the population using bank services mainly the rural folks.

The saccos saw registered members increase by 22.3 per cent to 1.7 million in 2012 up from 1.3 million in 2011 with members with remitted shares going up by 29.9 percent to 1.4 million in 2012 up from 1 million the previous year.

This is a great achievement for these saccos and we hope that this year, the perfomance will increase further because we have built the capacity of most of them," Damien Mugabo, Director General of the Rwanda Cooperative Agency-RCA said.

Moreover, the perfomance also saw savings increase by 34 percent between 2011 and 2012, reaching Rwf 29.7 billion in 2012 with current loans amounting to Rwf 14.2 billion, an increase of Rwf 9.6 billion compared to Rwf 4.6 billion in 2012.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Emmanuel Hategeka, said that saccos had played a big role in increasing access to finance among rural people and rural-based businesses.

Experts are hopeful that the perfomance of the Saccos will help small businesses and startups, which may not fulfill the requirements of big financial insititutions in accessing credit to grow their businesses.

Hategeka said that 892 cooperatives were registered in 2012 with 202 of them comprising of youth and women trained in basic cooperative management. Meanwhile, 416 murenge saccos employees were trained in internal control, Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) tools and customer care. This that greatly improved their (saccos) perfomance.

According to the report by South Africa-based FinScope, 72 per cent of Rwandan adults totaling about 3.2 million have or use financial products with 57.5 per cent of them informally doing so.

About 1.3 million Rwandans are currently financially excluded compared to 52 per cent of adults that were excluded in 2008, a move experts say will help increase financial inclusion mostly in areas that are hard for banks to reach.

The report further indicates that more than 90 per cent of adult Rwandans live within a five kilometre radius of a formal financial institution, thus reducing transport costs to access financial institutions.

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