On Friday, November 29, 2019, AB Bank Rwanda (ABR), The Microfinance Bank, hosted a certification ceremony at its headquarter in Nyarugenge, in conclusion of a five-day program on financial literacy attended by small and medium enterprises owners from different district of Kigali. The training package included record keeping, planning and budgeting, saving and loan management among others.
ABR, after identifying business owners with a proven potential to grow and a need for financial skills, invited them to attend a free financial literacy training to equip them with highly effective decision-making tools. In total, 69 young and middle adults of whom 46% women gathered at the bank’s headquarters in Nyarugenge to acquire the necessary knowledge to sustain their ventures.
According to Theogene Semana, the officer in charge of training at AB Bank Rwanda, many of the trainees failed to identify reasons for their inability to maintain a satisfactory level of savings. “Some [of the trainees] would not realize that they spend more than they earn. So we taught them how to easily track their transactions by maintaining an accurate record-keeping and ensure expenses do not outgrow income,” said Semana.
Addressing the participants during the graduation ceremony, Joas Ndikumana, ABR’s head of Retail Business said that financial literacy programs are aligned with the bank’s vision to develop small and medium enterprises. “It is not only about lending money. We have more to give you, much more! We want you to grow, moving up from one level to another. That is what you will achieve by putting what you have learnt here into practice.”
The Head of Retail Business shared with the assembly the captivating testimony of an ABR’s client who was able to achieve business capital growth from Rwf 100 thousand to Rwf 20 million thanks to financial literacy program offered by AB Bank Rwanda. He closed his remarks by fostering savings culture. “Everyone has something to save,” Ndikumana concluded.
John Havugimana, owner of “Ubushobozi bw’Ibimera”, a Nyabugogo based company acknowledged the benefits of the training he just attended. “I learned that there is no too little money to save and how to minimize my expenses. I thank AB Bank Rwanda for this training and for their quick service delivery”, He said.
Fatuma Nyirahabimana, a small-scale entrepreneur from Batsinda market echoed Havugimana by adding that valuable information received from AB Bank Rwanda must be translated in daily habits: “From now on, I will write everything that happens in my business. I will document sales, debts, and payments.” She said after receiving her certificate of completion.
AB Bank Rwanda, The Microfinance Bank, plans to expand the impact of this initiative by increasing the number of people accessing its financial literacy training. Talking about the future of this program, Joas Ndikumana said: “We plan to train the maximum people we can. We strive to increase the number of participants on a yearly basis. We also want to digitize these courses in a way that every person who needs the skills can access the course through our website”. Ndikumana added that the training is opened to everyone, not only ABR customers: “Even though at this specific day we trained our clients, we do not exclusively target ABR’s customers. When we started this program, we called in different business people in Kigali for training”.
After six years of operation, AB Bank Rwanda footprints have escalated across the country with five branches in Kigali, one flagship branch in Musanze and six credit outlets in major remote locations. Through the training program, ABR builds long-term relationships with its clients and contribute to a great extent in promoting a savings culture in Rwanda.