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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Central bank rewarded for promoting financial inclusion

The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) has been awarded the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Policy Award for 2014 in recognition of its “innovative and impactful financial inclusion policies”.

John Rwangombwa, the central bank governor tweeted after receiving the award that the accolade was in “recognition of Rwanda’s visionary leadership”, to which he attributed the success of the Umurenge Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) programme”.

The governor received the award on behalf of the central bank during the 2014 AFI Global Policy Forum in Port of Spain, in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Umurenge Saccos have been a financial inclusion successstory, which have in just three years attracted over 1.6 million customers.

Saccos and other microfinance institutions in the country currently serve almost the same number of customers as those of commercial banks, according to AFI.

Today, more than 90 per cent of Rwandans live within a five kilometre radius of the nearest Umurenge Sacco.

Commenting on the award, Gilbert Habyarimana, head of Umurenge Saccos at the Rwanda Co-operative Agency, said microfinance institutions serve a segment of the population that had been ignored by commercial banks.

“Microfinance institutions and Saccos have enabled rural people have access to financial services, save and lend to each other. This has led to the creation of jobs in the country as more people venture into different businesses with financing from Saccos,” explained Habyarimana.

The AFI forum, which ended yesterday, was held under the theme, “Global partnerships, national goals, empowering people”.

AFI members had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences, and work together to move the financial inclusion agenda forward, according to Rwangombwa.

The forum was a follow up to the one held in Kigali in July on “Financial inclusion for inclusive growth and sustainable Development international”, which was organised by the central bank in partnership with the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and AFI.

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