The New Times (Kigali)

13 August 2014

Rwanda: Microfinance Banks Move to Foster Efficiency, Transparency

For anyone wishing to apply for a loan and has an account with a microfinance institution, it will now take a few procedures, thanks to a new computer application the Association Microfinance Institutions of Rwanda (AMIR) is implementing to ease operations.

According to Peter Rwema, AMIR Programmes Director, the application, known as performance monitoring tool, will enhance transparency and efficiency in loan application processing, and thus improve service delivery.

He said 16 micro-finance managers had already been trained to use software.

"The technology will also help create a one-stop data collection centre at AMIR headquarters in Kigali," Rwema said.

He was speaking during one of the training sessions of some microfinance institutions personnel in Kigali on Monday

He added that the project was being supported by the National Bank of Rwanda, Access Finance Rwanda and Small Enterprise Education and Promotion Network, (SEEP), a US-based organisation.

"The first phase of training and software installation is underway across the country. Accountants and IT department personnel across the sector will also be trained under the programme," Rwema said.

Microfinance is one of the sectors in the financial services industry whose operations have been largely manual. This initiative should, therefore, enhance service delivery to members and clients as well as ensure good governance.

Jean Damascene Hakuzimana, the Communication and Advocacy Officer at AMIR, said participants were being trained to use the software to monitor performance.

Central bank statistics for second quarter of 2014 indicate that the microfinance sector registered return on asset and return on equity of 0.6 per cent.

Total liquid assets increased from Rwf42.08 billion in 2013 to more than Rwf43.95 billion during first quarter of 2014.

This growth was mainly driven by the liquid assets and gross loans which increased by 27.2 per cent and 24.2 per cent, moving from Rwf33.1 billion to Rwf42.1 billion and Rwf59.2 billion to Rwf73.5 billion.

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