At least $242 million of private sector financing sits idly in the accounts of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Rwanda. This was revealed on May 16 during a business dialogue that brought together members of the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and AfDB, as well as other stakeholders in the Rwandan economy. ALSO READ: New AfDB Exec. Director tips Rwandan private sector on financing opportunities According to Aïssa Touré, the Country Manager of the African Development Bank, the bank allocates between $100 million and $150 million annually for the private sector, which has been untapped for many years. “This means that either the private sector is not aware of what the bank is doing on that front or the conditions are not meeting their needs. We thought it was beneficial to have this interaction to really unpack and explain what we are doing for the private sector,” she said. Touré added that the bank is widely known for public financing; however, it also has products for the private sector across sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, mining and gas, manufacturing, and others. The bank’s portfolio in Rwanda consists of 26 projects with a total investment of $1.5 billion, and only 12 per cent of this went to the private sector. ALSO READ: SMEs push for improved access to finance While small and medium enterprises hold a larger percentage of the economy, the African Development Bank has created lines of credit through some commercial banks so that they can reach this segment while ensuring that the pricing and terms meet the SMEs’ needs. The New Times understands that the private sector is often constrained in accessing finance from commercial banks, where they are only able to secure short-term loans at a high cost. However, Faustin Karasira, Chief Operations Officer of the PSF, noted that accessing such long-term financing has a positive impact on business activities, which might translate into lower prices on the market. “This is our first meeting, and we realised that we lacked enough information about this financing instrument. We want our members to know and leverage this opportunity to expand their businesses,” he added. According to the AfDB, the financing instrument is long-term and can be accessed in local currency in some selected countries, including Rwanda. It also offers a five-year grace period. Benjamin Gasamagera, a local businessman, welcomed the development and called on his peers to take advantage of the available money, especially in such times when the country is getting back on its feet from the impact of the pandemic. “In one’s quest to expand across borders, it would be beneficial to work with a continental bank, where the business is guaranteed against any insecurities,” he said. He added that they are ready to work together and not only benefit from commercial banks’ financing but also grow their business with the larger opportunities available.