An International Finance Corporation (IFC) inspired initiative to help private schools access loans for improving their management systems, quality of education and outreach, thrilled many during its launch yesterday.
The Rwanda Private Schools Support Programme, was launched at La Palisse Hotel, Nyandungu.
he programme, part of IFC’s plan to assist African countries meet the Millennium Development Goal of offering primary education to all by 2015, has already registered success in Kenya, and Ghana where it started in 2005.
During the launch standing in for the Minister of Education as Guest of Honour, the Ministry’s Acting Permanent Secretary, Issa Claver, concurred with others on the worth of mooting such an initiative.
“This is an important occasion in our education system because it is the first time that such a programme is started,” he said, thanking IFC and Banque Rwandaise de Développement (BRD) for their important partnership.
The private sector arm of the World Bank Group the IFC has signed an investment of up to Rwf 2.6 billion in a risk-sharing facility with BRD.
This is expected to permit the bank increase its lending to private schools to Rwf 7 billion.
“Our successes in education have been attributed to the private sector [but] there is more to achieve. We very much acknowledge the importance of this partnership,” he added, emphasising that partnerships in education have been the key pillars to Rwanda’s education achievements.
Eagerly waiting to learn more about the scheme, Rev. Louis Muvunyi, Kigali Anglican Theological College’s Acting Principal seemed equally elated.
“It seems to be a good mission for empowering private schools in Rwanda. It is an encouragement to many schools that are struggling,” he told The New Times.
“I am here to learn more about the IFC and how they work with BRD, to see how we can fit into this,” he added, nderlining that his young institution was looking forward to becoming a university – Rwanda Christian University – by 2010. imilarly optimistic was Emmanuel Gashaija, head teacher Muhazi College.
“We haven’t been able to receive enough funding because of the problem of lack of collateral that banks require,” he said, adding that commercial banks normally don’t accept school premises as collateral.
“We are going to improve the quality of our schools,” he stated. his was echoed by Ignace Harelimana of Ecole Secondaire Islamique de Ruhengeri.
“It will help very much because if we could access the finance, we can upgrade and improve on infrastructure.”
Samuel Akyianu, now IFC Program Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, nurtured its start in Ghana and is, among others, optimistic about Rwanda.
“Rwanda has been identified as a very forward looking country. This does not mean that we are not looking at other countries,” he told The New Times when asked why Rwanda was their number three.
“Rwanda was very fast in terms of signing the agreement with IFC. We don’t see that kind of response elsewhere,” he said.
Emmanuel Karuranga, BRD’s Director of Risk and Credit Management, also underlined the above optimism.
“I have no doubt this project will be very interesting. We have been financing projects within the education sector and there are many interested people. This program comes to help reduce the problem related to collateral,” he noted.
“We have signed an agreement, a risk-sharing agreement, where the bank avails funds to finance things like construction, equipment and working capital for schools,” he revealed.
“With this facility, IFC will be financing the guarantees at the level of 40 percent,” he said, adding that BRD will provide the required amount for financing depending on the cost of the project.
“What is required from the promoter varies depending on the type of project and associated risk,” he explained. part from finance, technical assistance, too, will be given to schools.
“Advisory services to schools will be given by the IFC,” he said, referring to teacher training, strategic planning, accounts and management in general.
“We will also benefit from the advisory services, it will impact on good management of schools and loans, good payment and good implementation of the projects we finance,” he also observed.