Rwanda, German firms to boost savings

The Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) and the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation of German are partnering to boost savings. The three year savings mobilization campaign that will kick off in 2011, seeks to rise the level of financial education skills that has been observed among all segments of Rwandan population which has slowed down savings and private investment.

The Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) and the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation of German are partnering to boost savings.

The three year savings mobilization campaign that will kick off in 2011, seeks to rise the level of financial education skills that has been observed among all segments of Rwandan population which has slowed down savings and private investment.

“We want to promote a savings culture in Rwanda especially among the young population and that is why we are working with the ministry of education to take the campaign to schools,” said Faustin Zihiga the Chairman of AMIR.

In the government’s economic development and poverty eradication strategy, a goal was set to achieve a gross national savings of 18 per cent of Gross Domestic Product to attain a Gross National Investment (GNI) of 30 per cent of GDP.

The partnership between AMIR and SBFIC emphasizes that in order to achieve the target savings, all stakeholders should come together and devise measures of inculcating a savings culture among Rwandans.

Zihiga also said that the campaign that is three fold is putting in place a mechanism through which savings culture can be imparted in young people, creating partnerships aimed at savings mobilization among all stakeholders as well as draw lessons from development partners.

The savings mobilization campaign comes at the right time with the recent survey indicating that 1 out of 5 Rwandans has access to formal banking services, 21 per cent of the adult population access formal banking services while 52 percent are totally excluded.

“Without a rapid change, it will be difficult for Rwanda to sustain a high investment rate in GDP and a high growth rate which is necessary to significantly reduce poverty,” said Kevin Kavugizo, the Director of MFIs in the central bank.

AMIR was created by 32 founding members and currently its membership has reached 90 licensed MFIs of which 74 have the legal status of savings and credit cooperatives and it is one of the implementers of the microfinance and saving mobilization strategies adopted by Rwanda. 

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