USAID, BRD enter partnership to boost agriculture sector

The Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) has entered into a partnership with a USAID project where the latter will provide technical assistance to employees of the bank and its clients.
Alex Kanyankole and Melanie Bittle sign the Memorandum of Understanding. (Donata Kiiza)
Alex Kanyankole and Melanie Bittle sign the Memorandum of Understanding. (Donata Kiiza)

The Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) has entered into a partnership with a USAID project where the latter will provide technical assistance to employees of the bank and its clients.

The two-year project that will be implemented by Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth Project is aimed at strengthening the agriculture lending practices in Rwanda as well as boost the entire agriculture sector.

 

An agreement to kick-start the project was signed last Friday at the BRD headquarters in downtown Kigali.

 

Speaking at the event, Alex Kanyankole, the Chief Executive Officer of BRD thanked USAID for the partnership, saying it was timely as the bank was looking at increasing its finances for lending in the agriculture sector.

 

“We are grateful for this partnership with USAID, which is a timely boost to the bank’s efforts of financing development and modernisation of agriculture sector. As we embark on increasing lending and access to financial services to the sector, it is essential to provide technical support and capacity building to our staff and clients,” said Kanyankole.

Kanyankole added that this agreement will be of much importance to the agricultural sector since agriculture is a major contributor to the country’s GDP.

He also noted that the agriculture sector will work towards promoting a more market-oriented agriculture and make the sector more sustainable despite the portions of subsistence nature still being identified.

Melanie Bittle, Chief of Party PSDAG project, said that they will be able to provide technical assistance to BRD staff and its partners as a contribution to achieving the national objective of increasing agriculture financing.

More precisely, the technical assistance will include training of the bank’s staff in development of products that are tailored to the agricultural sector as a way of attracting capital intensive agriculture projects.

“Since we are going to be here for a short while (2017-2019), we hope that after the two years, there will be institutional capacity that will continue with some technical assistance that we have been offering and that’s why we chose to work with institutions like BRD,” said Bittle.

She added that they will help in capacity building to enable the institution help other financial institutions as they identify special needs in the agricultural sector.

According to a statement from BRD, the bank has earmarked at least Rwf140 billion for lending to projects in agricultural mechanisation, modernisation and processing technologies.

BRD has earmarked an additional Rwf180 billion to assist the export sector, including agricultural exports.

It is expected that after increased access to loans and other financing, more investment by farmers and agribusinesses will be created and stronger market opportunities for small scale farmers. 

BRD is expected to use these funds for many purposes including providing low interest rates, affordable loans for small scale farmers through partnerships with microfinance institutions and other community cooperatives.

The institution will also finance commercial projects in livestock, fish, feed production and offer financial guarantees for export and agriculture investments.

In addition, the bank will help bankroll projects in high-value crop and seed production and many more.

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