About 70 per cent of the Rwf17.5b loan guarantees by the Business Development Fund (BDF) to date has gone to the agriculture sector. Over 1,750 loans have been guaranteed by the Fund, according to Innocent Bulindi, the BDF boss.
He said Rwf12.3b of the Rwf17.5b (70 per cent of the loan guarantees) went to the agriculture sector, benefitting coffee, tea, maize, rice and livestock farmers. The remaining Rwf5.2b went to the hospitality sector, manufacturing, education, artisans, real estate and transport, he added.
Bulindi said the agriculture sector gets more support because it employs the majority of Rwandans. He was speaking during a corporate breakfast hosted by the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) on Monday.
BDF was established last year by the government to provide loan guarantees for the agricultural and SME sectors with the aim of increasing business and employment opportunities for Rwandans.
Alex Kanyankole, the BRD chief executive officer, said they are currently funding micro-finance institutions to reach more rural folks.
He said BRD signs agreements with micro-finance institutions (MFIs) that apply for funding to ensure they extend finance to rural farmers.
Kanyankole said, under the programme, BDF has also trained MFIs in credit and risk management, as well as credit appraisal, which are some of the major challenges affecting the industry.
The 5.9 per cent growth achieved in the first quarter of this year was mainly driven by good performance in the agriculture sector, at 5.5 per cent, according to the central bank.