The association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) has elected new board leaders.
Jean Marie Vianney Nzagahimana, the Umwalimu SACCO board chairman, takes over from Faustin Zihiga as AMIR president. Nzagahimana, who is also the Rwanda College of Tourism lecturer and Umwalimu SACCO boss, was elected during AMIR general assembly on October 11 in Kigali.
Denyse Murebwayire was elected the vice-president, while Callixte Kalisa is the secretary. Merchias Dusabumuremyi and Jean Louis Musoni were elected advisors to the association.
While handing the tools of office to the new group, Zihiga urged them to take financial services to the rural populace.
“We have given you a strong foundation, so there is no reason you should not steer this association to economic success. The country is looking up to you to make it’s growth strategy a reality,” he noted.
“The challenge of limited finance, low skilled manpower, coupled with lack of innovation and investment in research and advocacy are still hampering our progress and need to be addressed urgently,” he implored the new leaders.
Nzagahimana promised to work with all stakeholders, including the government to secure adequate funds for micro-finance institutions for on-lending to the members.
“We will bring everyone on board because it is only when we work as a team that we can succeed. Our emphasis will also be on extending financial services to remote areas, where we have not yet reached,” Nzagahimana told the general assembly.
The new leadership comes at time when micro-finance institutions’ total portfolio risk improved from 12 per cent down to 8.5 per cent.
According to the 2012 Annual Report on Microfinance Institutions, the sector doubled its financial inclusion performance from 21 per cent in 2011 to 42 per cent in 2012. Informal inclusion increased from 39 per cent to 58 per cent, with the overall financial inclusion increasing from 48 per cent in 2008 to 72 per cent last year.
The report also noted that the total outstanding portfolio, including Umurenge SACCOs, increased by 90 per cent from Rwf36.7b in 2010 to Rwf59.1b in 2011. Total deposits grew by 84 per cent in 2012 compared to 65 per cent in 2011 despite a decline in the total number of regulated MFIs and SACCOs from 502 in 2010 to 490 in 2011.