Growing savings is key for growth of any economy as it facilitates lending to the private sector using locally-raised funds, which creates more jobs and wealth. A strong savings culture also helps improve people’s welfare and livelihoods, the main reasons why the government is promoting a savings culture among the Rwandan population.
Aimable Hakizimana, a trader in Gatsata, Gasabo District, says saving enables the young and adults to create wealth. Hakizimana says one can start saving even if they earn little money, arguing that one doesn’t have to earn millions before they start saving. The father of five children says he has been saving part of his earnings for the past three years, adding that this has changed his life and money management skills significantly.
He says through savings one is able to meet their needs over time, adding that he has used part of his savings to build a family home.
Hakizimana says he learnt about the importance of savings during a sensitisation drive by a microfinance bank in his locality over three years ago. He says he has since encouraged friends to embrace the savings culture, adding that guides his children on the same.
Agnes Mugwaneza, a resident of Batsinda, says she has been in a saving club for the past two years.
She says she has been able to build a house worth Rwf2 million from her savings. “I am also able to pay my children’s school fees and health insurance with ease since I joined the club and started putting aside some of my income,” she says.
She advises women to embrace a savings culture, saying it is key to women empowerment and financial emancipation.
“I had never saved and I could not afford basic necessities such as health insurance, but now I have got extra money to cater for emergencies and also invest in income-generating activities,” she says.
Mugwaneza urges Rwandans to embrace the savings culture if they are to develop themselves and contribute to the country’s development agenda.
A FinScope survey report that was released in March, 2016 indicates that 13 per cent of adults save with commercial banks, while 45 per cent of adults have a formal savings product from non-bank, and 56 per cent use other informal savings mechanisms, such as savings groups.
About 35 per cent of adults claim to save at home or with someone in the household, according to the study.