women in the country have been advised to seek loans from financial institutions to set up investment projects.
This is in view of new statistics on women’s access to finance in Rwanda, which show that although tremendous efforts have been made, more needs to be done to ensure this opportunity for women.
In a move to promote women’s access to finance, Women For Women International (WFWI) Rwanda organised an event to link women cooperatives and financial institutions in Nyaruguru District to encourage them to acquire loans for scaling up their projects that would boost financial stability and family welfare.
Speaking at the event on Wednesday, Nyaruguru Mayor Francois Habitegeko told women that loans are a common avenues through which people develop.
“Women who are scared to acquire loans should know that all these big business owners work with financial institutions,” he said, adding that they should cultivate a savings culture in their families.
“People should change a negative attitude toward loans. The fear of having one’s property auctioned after failing to repay the money should not scare you... remember that the majority of borrowers achieve their dreams.”
Clemence Bideri, the economic empowerment manager at WFWI, said women in cooperatives have been supported to undertake in various income generating activities such as apiculture, vegetables and fruit cultivation.
Bideri cited market access and access to finance as the two major challenges facing women.
“In order for women to move to the next level in business, they will need access to finance, whether they like it or not. The same applies to all of us. So financial inclusion remains a very important contributor to poverty reduction,” she said.
Bideri called on financial institutions to develop appropriate products and services based on women’s interests.
She said to address the financial gap together, WFWI will continue to train women in financial literacy, bookkeeping and formulation of viable business plans.
Speaking to The New Times, Caritas Mukagatana, the president of Abafite Intego, an apiculture cooperative in Kibeho Sector, said following various training workshops they attended, they are able to run their bee keeping project.
“We are working with SACCO to deposit and withdraw. But today I realised that we have another step to take; not to base our activities on our limited income but expand them using bank loans,” she said.
Bagaza Shyaka, the investment analyst in Business Development Fund (BDF), Nyaruguru branch, advised the women to always thoroughly prepare their business proposals to benefit from credit guarantee.
Statistics from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion show that women face hindrances in access to finance due to financial literacy, culture and lack of self-confidence, among other factors.
The 2014 statistics show that 836,887 women were registered in cooperatives, while men were 1,111,529 and among these members, the percentage of women with loans stood at 27, against 68 for men.