The central bank has called for more efforts to encourage Rwandans to embrace a savings culture for the country to achieve its medium-term savings targets.
Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the vice-governor of National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), said gross national savings were at about 12 per cent in December 2015, while the country targets to increase this to 30 per cent by 2020.
Nsanzabaganwa, who was Wednesday speaking at the opening of an electronic and digital financial services exhibition at Amahoro National Stadium in Remera, said, to achieve this goal, banks and stakeholders must work hard to encourage more Rwandans to save through financial institutions.
The exhibition was organised by financial sector stakeholders as part of the ongoing savings campaign that ends on October 31, which is also the World Savings Day.
She urged Rwandans to take advantage of savings programmmes initiated by government and financial institutions to accumulate investment capital to improve their welfare and contribute to the country’s development.
“If you want to live a better life, you need to start saving today, regardless of your income level. What is important is making it a habit to set aside a small amount of money, say daily, weekly or monthly. With time, you will accumulate enough capital to invest in income-generating activities to create more wealth and be able to enhance your living standards. However, adopt a savings plan that works for you,” she advised.
Rwanda’s banked population increased to 26 per cent this year, up from 23 per cent in 2012. However, over 89 per cent of adult population access financial services, according the FinScope survey for 2016.
Nsanzabaganwa called on financial institutions to adopt ICTs to ease access to services and boost service delivery. The vice-governor also challenged banks to be innovative, adding that financial service providers need to also constantly sensitise customers about their savings and products to improve deposits.
“Without financial literacy, the information gap will grow and few people will save. So you need to constantly communicate with the customers and general population to remove any barriers that prevent people from consuming your products,” she said.
Prossy Kalisa, the head of marketing and communications at BPR, advised people to set targets and make saving plans, which they can discuss with their bankers for guidance. She noted that banks give customers loans, partly, basing on what they have saved. “The way a client has been saving is one of the key issues banks consider before giving out loans,” she added.
Andre Gashugi, the chief executive officer of Rwanda National Investment Trust, said people need to change their mind-set about banks, saying banks serve all Rwandans without considering their financial status.
“We welcome everyone regardless of their income and ensure they get services and profits on their savings,” he said.
Leonard Nsengiyaremye, a university student who attended the exhibition, said he learnt about operations of financial institutions, and the different savings plans offered by banks.
“I learnt different ways through which I can save. I have picked one savings products, which I believe will work well for a ‘small saver’ like me,” he said.
He called on the youth, especially students, to take advantage of the different savings plans operated by banks to put aside money periodically to secure their financial future.