Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, during her visit to Rwanda this week, applauded the government for its efforts to enhance access to financial services, especially in rural Rwanda.
In the past, commercial banks, insurance companies and the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR) have provided financial services to the urban population with little outreach to the rural sector.
Entrepreneurs, mainly farmers seeking to finance business development heavily relied on personal savings and inadequate debt capital from Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).
In the last 10 years, the government has moved to reverse this trend by developing fresh strategies for the rural population. With the new initiatives, which include a saving cooperative at the sector level (Umurenge), micro insurance for rural framers and stimulating a partnership between banks and MFIs among others, the environment on financial inclusion is better suited to register progress.
Indeed, by developing a strategy that seeks to increase savings, insurance, investment capital and access to other viable financial services in the rural areas, the government has demonstrated strong will to bridge the development gap between the rural and urban households.
It is such developmental initiatives that will ensure improvement in the standard of living of the Rwandan people.