KIGALI - In a bid to encourage Rwandans in the Diaspora to save and invest in their country, Bank of Kigali (BK) has entered into a partnership with the Diaspora, through the Rwanda Convention Association (RCA), to facilitate them remit funds back home.
The new initiative will see BK, throughout the year, allow Rwandans in the Diaspora open bank accounts on the RCA website.
Diaspora members will also have the opportunity to access loans for real estate purchases and small business banking. They will also have access to constant information about BK services.
In an interview with The New Times, the Managing Director of BK, James Gatera, noted that the initiative has been ongoing and the bank management has on several occasions met Rwandans living in North America and Europe to encourage them to take up the offer.
“We don’t charge them any commission, their accounts are opened free of charge and this is to facilitate them save and invest in the country,” Gatera said. “We also pass on information on available projects like housing.”
Gatera added that bank officials will be travelling to Boston, Massachusetts to attend the 2010 Rwanda Convention, scheduled to take place from May 28 – 31.
“We always try to keep in touch with the Diaspora and inform them about the opportunities available in the country, and also help them send money back to their families; and I must say, the response has been excellent,” Gatera said.
The RCA president, Urusaro Bakuramutsa, said that there has been constant demand for professional banking services from the members of the Diaspora.
“BK, will fill a gap that has been existing. The Diaspora has been in need of Rwandan financial services that they can easily access from their respective cities,” she said. “RCA offers the platform to bridge this gap.”
According to Robert Masozera, the Director General in charge of the Diaspora in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the scheme will go a long way in increasing remittances from abroad.
“It is a good initiative, not only for encouraging Diaspora members to remit money back home, but also promote investment in the country,” Masozera said. “Other banks should follow suit.”
He added that BK has been a good partner and has worked closely with the Rwandan Diaspora. The bank hosts the One Dollar campaign account as well as the Diaspora Mutual Fund.
The Rwandan Diaspora last year remitted over $80m and it is expected that this year remittances will slightly exceed $100m.