18 October 2017

Rwanda: Development Bank Avails Fresh U.S.$700 Million in Credit

Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) has launched a countrywide campaign to identify potential bankable projects in priority sectors.

The campaign, which started in Nyamata, Bugesera District, seeks to provide loans to local investors in education, agriculture, energy, housing, exports and infrastructure.

BRD has earmarked $707.3 million, which is accessible through commercial banks and savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), while the Government, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) will oversee the implementation of this plan.

"The aim of this campaign is to meet investors with ongoing projects and those with project proposals to see how we can help them develop and thus increase their contribution to national development," said Livingstone Byamungu, the chief investment officer at BRD.

He said BRD's meetings with investors are a platform for the bank to explain new opportunities that help investors grow their businesses.

The chairperson of PSF in Bugesera, Eugene Higiro, thanked BRD, saying the funds will promote the private sector in various ways and help the business community contribute towards national development.

Eric Ruzindaza, the Bugesera vice-mayor in charge of economic affairs, urged people to seize the opportunity and use the loans.

The outreach campaign ends in January, and will cover all the districts. The credit will be available next year.

"Usually we do our budget in October and use the rest of the year to identify potential projects to include in our next financial year," Byamungu said.

He also made it clear that BRD does not only target big investors, but that small and medium entrepreneurs have equal opportunities to access the bank's credit, either through commercial banks or SACCOs.

He said that, while BRD generally targets projects worth Rwf50 million and above, even investors who require less money can have their projects considered through commercial banks. The prospective investor should, however, be able to finance at least 30 per cent of the project cost.

BRD will channel its credit through Bank of Kigali, I&M Bank, BPR and SACCOs.

The funds will be allocated to key priority sectors with export development taking the lion's share with $222 million, followed by energy with $185 million, agriculture at $170 million, affordable housing at $66.3 million, and education at $64 million.

However, Byamungu said BRD will also finance infrastructure that is considered as social goods - such as clinics and hospitals, markets, furniture and welding centres, and factories for construction and building materials.

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