Equity Bank Rwanda on Monday, March 8, joined the world to celebrate the annual International Women’s Day. Globally, the day was fêted under the theme; “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world,” while in Rwanda, the theme was “Women, be at the forefront in the Covid-19 World.” The bank among others celebrated the day by recognizing women clients and staff in the various branches that it has across the country. According to Hannington Namara, Managing Director of Equity Bank Rwanda, the financial institution is committed to supporting women in the business sector. He said: “As Equity Bank, we are happy to recognize our lady colleagues and clients, of whom the progress we have made would have been difficult or even impossible. We have made deliberate efforts to support, promote and facilitate women in business.” During the celebrations of the IWD 2021, the bank recognized women clients and staff in various branches across the country. / Dan Nsengiyumva “Internally, we put in place policies and made sure we equip our women staff with the required skills and make sure they compete with their male counterparts favourably. We plan to do more,” he added. Jean Claude Gaga, Commercial Director at the bank also emphasized that Equity Bank has put in place a structure that gives room to women. “Under our Small and Medium Banking division we introduced women banking department because we need to be a catalyst of development, especially as far as promoting women in business is concerned,” he said. Equity Bank Rwanda management and staff joined the world to celebrate the International Women’s Day on March 8. / Dan Nsengiyumva Gaga also highlighted that around 43 per cent of Equity Bank’s decision-makers are women, a per centage he said is expected to increase in the future. The significance of the women department According to Christine Nyirumuringa, Women Banking Relationship Manager at Equity Bank, her docket is helping women in various ways. “We put women in group savings to encourage them to work together, which among others help them share skills, and access loans easily,” she said, adding that: “We also introduced financial clubs that provide our women clients with information that help them to be financially literate especially concerning book recording.” She also mentioned that the financial institution is planning to introduce study tours where women can get in touch with producers of goods they import with no need of middlemen, an initiative that seeks to ease access to such goods. Photo: Dan Nsengiyumva According to Nyirumuringa, the lender ensures that women access loans at a low-interest rate. She said: “We look for partnerships with international organizations that give us finances at a low-interest rate, and once we get them we are able which to give loans to women at a lower interest rate as well.” In bid to support women in business, Equity Bank says that it plans to classify 1000 small and medium traders at Nyabugogo Market in groups, and give them loans of between four and five billion Rwandan Francs. Photo: Dan Nsengiyumva Equity Bank Rwanda recently received the Bank of the Year Rwanda 2020 award by The Banker, during the Bank of the Year Awards. The Bank of the Year Awards 2020 by the Banker, a monthly international financial affairs publication owned by The Financial Times Ltd, is a continental awarding showpiece that recognizes and acknowledges excellence in the banking sector drawn from the world’s leading financial institutions.