I wish to appeal to all banks in Rwanda to enhance their lending capacity as this would ultimately stimulate the growth of small and medium enterprises. The government has time and again retaliated that SMEs in the country are less competitive compared to regional neighbours, and further acknowledges that if no effort is made to make them more competitive, this situation is likely to worsen with the full fledged East African Community (EAC) common market.
One of the best ways to support them is through lending as well as enabling them to adapt to market realities and to take advantage of emerging opportunities through capacity building.
However, this is easier said than done. Of late, we have seen an unprecedented effort to ensure that SMEs get funding through Government-supported SMEs financing facilities. Bank of Kigali and FINA Bank have particularly been active in this effort.
However, the issue of interest rates has always been the Achilles heel in addition to a unsubstantiated fear of borrowing. The Central Bank, microfinance institutions and commercial banks should thus streamline such stumbling blocks to ensure funding reaches as many SMEs as possible.