The government has pledged more support to the micro-finance sub-sector to help it grow and run its operations better.
This was revealed by Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade and Industry, during the launch of the Rwanda Institute for Co-operatives, Entrepreneurships and Microfinance at the former Centre IWACU Kabusunzu in Nyamirambo in Nyarugenge District. The institute will provide tailor-made training packages to stakeholders to enhance their skills in areas of product innovation, bookkeeping, computer studies and entrepreneurship.
The micro-finance industry is dogged by acute lack of skilled personnel, which has affected its ability to grow and serve more people.
The institution will be funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and its partners for the next five years to allow it time to become self-sustaining, Kanimba said.
He revealed the institute is a joint initiative by his ministry, the central bank, the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) and the Rwanda Co-operative Agency and is aimed at supporting skills development in the micro-finance sub-sector.
“We will support the school with all the necessary funds so that it is able to run its programmes smoothly. We hope the challenge of lack of skills in the industry will now be handled as the institute has qualified staff to provide stakeholders the requisite skills to improve it,” Kanimba said during the launch of the institute last week.
He noted that the microfinance sector has a critical role to play in the government’s poverty alleviation programmes by easing access to finance to help people create wealth.
The institute was established in 2012, but has not been active.
Kanimba advised stakeholders to adopt best practices from more developed micro-finance sectors in the region to help stimulate growth and foster good governance in the sector. Annoncee Kuradusenge from the Ministry of Trade and Industry was appointed the chancellor of the institute and Peter Rwema, the director of research and development at AMIR, is the vice-chancellor.
Rwema said the institute will help make the sub-sector dynamic in product innovation, operations, and will instill financial discipline among stakeholders and strengthen its operations, ideals and values.
The micro-finance sector assets grew by 27.4 per cent between 2012 and 2013, up from Rwf101b to Rwf128.7b, according to National Bank of Rwanda statistics for last year. The sector’s liquidity ratio stood at 80.5 per cent against the minimum required of 30 per cent. Non-performing ratio declined to 6.8 per cent over the year from 8.5 per cent in 2012.