The New Times (Kigali)

29 June 2014

Rwanda: IFC Unveils Rwf82 Billion for SMEs Involved in Agro-Processing

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), is going to double financial support to the agri- business sector, a move that will enhance the value of local agricultural produce.

Iganace Bacyaha, the IFC Rwanda boss, said $120m about (Rwf81.6b) would be disbursed over the next four years to strengthen the capacity of the country's small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the agribusiness sector and the financial industry.

He said the World Bank's private sector lending arm would disburse $17m this year, then almost double it to $30m and eventually increase it to $120m in the coming years.

Bacyaha also said the global funder would support the broadening of the country's capital market base, noting that this could help reduce Rwanda's reliance on foreign aid.

"We are putting resources together as World Bank Group so that we can align our support with the country's economic development. However, there is need to develop the local capital market for Rwanda must attain sustainable growth," Bacyaha said during the launch of the country partnership strategy Rwanda 2014-2018 in Kigali last week.

The strategy seeks to align support from development partners with government's economic transformation objectives as enshrined in the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSII) blueprint.

The IFC chief said they will work with local banks to provide the funds in foreign and local currencies to support SMEs and create more jobs for Rwandans.

Bacyaha said they are providing some of the finance in local currency to avoid foreign currency fluctuations.

He called on the private sector to align their projects with EDPRS II objectives to qualify for funding.

Ronald Nkusi, the director of external finances at Ministry of Finance, was happy that the funds do not attract high interest rates, saying this is a big boost to the private sector.

Lack of affordable credit is one of the biggest constraints facing the private sector in the country.

EDPRS II is expected to be driven by the private sector to achieve sustainable development and is job creation.

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