Small-and-medium Enterprises (SMEs) could soon find it easier to access funding, thanks to plans by Oiko Credit Rwanda to more than double funding to the sector.
Daniel Muhimuzi, the Oiko Credit country manager, said they will extend about €4 million (about Rwf3.1 billion) in loans to SMEs and agribusinesses, up from €1.9 million (about Rwf1.5 billion) currently.
Muhimuzi, who was speaking during Oiko’s 40th anniversary celebrations in Kigali on Tuesday, said the funding aims at supporting poverty reduction efforts to improve people’s income.
Oiko Credit Rwanda is a subsidiary of Oiko Credit, an international financial institution based in The Netherlands that provides credit to microfinance institutions and SMEs.
Muhimuzi said Oiko has disbursed over Rwf6 billion to 200,000 Rwandans since its inception in 2012, and is targeting to reach one million beneficiaries in coming years.
Ging Ledesma, the Oiko social performance and credit analysis director based in The Netherlands, said the move would boost efforts aimed at increasing access to funding, especially in the SME sector.
Ledesma also noted that it is crucial to promote prudent money management practices and empower ordinary Rwandans and SMEs to ensure sustainable economic growth.
She added that the financial institution is committed to continue providing finance to support the country’s efforts to eradicate poverty.
Meanwhile, the firm commissioned its new head offices in Kimihurura Gasabo District during the same ceremony.
According to the central bank 2014 monetary policy and financial stability statement, total loans given to SMEs rose by 19 per cent last year to Rwf229.9 billion, from Rwf193.2 billion in 2013.
Elikanah Kiarie Ng’anga, the Oiko credit regional co-ordinator, said there is need to develop SMEs capacity to manage credit to create a positive impact on the national economy.
Callixte Kalisa, the CAF-Isonga Microfinance director general, said microfinance institutions lack access to affordable credit facilities, which pushes up interest rates. “However, with organisations like Oiko, SACCOs will be able to get low interest loans,” Kalisa said.