The Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) has rewarded six micro-finance institutions and Saccos for their role in promoting practices that deepen financial inclusion, as well as improve service delivery.
The institutions were judged on three indicators: product development, use of information and communication technologies to foster financial inclusion, and client protection and social performance.
Umutanguha Finance Company and Vision Finance emerged winners in the product development category, while COOPEC Inkunga and Musanze’s Inyongera Sacco Cyuve were rewarded for their innovations and use of new technologies to boost access to finance.
CLECAM Wisigara Sacco and Unguka Bank emerged the best credit institutions on the social performance indicator.
Damascene Hakuzimana, the AMIR senior advocacy and communications officer, said the awards are geared at enhancing efficiency and professionalism among sector players.
They were facilitated by Germany-based Savings Foundation for International Co-operation (SBFIC). The awards were part of the activities to mark Rwanda Microfinance Week, he added.
The winners received cash prizes of between Rwf500,000 and Rwf1 million, courtesy of SBFIC.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Claudien Nsengimana, the managing director of COOPEC Inkunga Microfinance, called on AMIR to increase training of members to help MFIs and Saccos enhance service delivery.
“This will also make it easier for us to work with other financial institutions and stakeholders to address the challenges faced by the sector,” Nsengimana said.
Meanwhile, 130 savings and credit institutions, commonly known as Umurenge Saccos, have joined the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda.
This brings the membership to 240 MFIs and Saccos, including 53 credit institutions that joined last year, Peter Rwema, the AMIR executive secretary told The New Times on Monday.
“The new members will be able to access diversified financial services and benefits that will enhance professionalism as well as service delivery, which are key in the fight against poverty,” Rwema said.
He added that their staff and members will also train in financial management, market research and product development.
The new members include Rugabano Sacco in Karongi District, Isange in Ngoma District, Ratwa Tumba in Huye District and Janja Sacco in Burere District.
Rwema said the new members met all the necessary requirements, including a written membership application and membership fees of Rwf50,000.
Rwanda’s micro-finance sector is made up of 13 limited companies, 64 non-Umurenge Saccos and 416 Umurenge Saccos.
And according to figures from the National Bank of Rwanda, the sector’s assets grew by 23.8 per cent from Rwf128.7 billion in December 2013, to Rwf159.3 billion last year. This was largely driven by loans, which increased by 22.4 per cent over the year.