AfDB SME Program: Enhancing inclusive growth and job creation in Rwanda

09/09/2015
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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and Access Bank Rwanda Ltd. signed a loan agreement for the equivalent of US $6 million under the Africa SME Program on September 3, 2015 to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Rwanda.

Access Bank Rwanda is a member of the Access Bank Group, which has its headquarters in Lagos. The AfDB has had a long-standing relationship with Access Bank. The Rwanda subsidiary was established in 2008 when Access Bank PLC took a 75% ownership in Bancor SA. Expanding its loan portfolio in recent years, Access Bank Rwanda offers a variety of SME products including asset finance, invoice discounting and term loans, etc. It is also in the process of launching new financial products and services exclusively for women. The US $6-million line of credit will support SME projects in economic sectors such as telecom, school/education, tourism/services, construction, etc. and also focus on women entrepreneurs.

The Africa Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Program was approved by the AfDB’s Board of Directors in July 2013. It is a four-year program with US $125 million. Under this program, a US $3.98-million technical assistance package was granted by the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) under EPSA (Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa) initiative, which aims to supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa. The Africa SME Program will provide the necessary longer-term finance as well as a technical assistance package to address a number of constraints faced by approximately 25 target financial institutions and their SME clients across Africa.

About the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA)

The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. The Government of Japan, African Development Bank, the Austrian Development Bank and the Government of Austria are contributors to the fund, which to date has provided US $42 million to 47 projects across the African continent. The FAPA portfolio includes regional and national projects in sectors such as business enabling environment, financial intermediation, infrastructure, trade and micro, small and medium enterprises.

About Access Bank Rwanda Ltd.

Access Bank Rwanda Ltd. is a commercial bank and is reputed as one of the fastest-growing banks in Rwanda, having demonstrated consistent growth in its financial performance over the past four years. Access Bank Rwanda leverages on its international network within the Access Bank Group, which is made up of seven (7) countries. Access Bank Rwanda intends to play as a strong and aggressive role on the Rwandan financial services market. Over the years, Access Bank has evolved to become a catalyst for socio-economic development in the country and is on its way to becoming one of the top three banks in Rwanda within the next five years. The Bank recently strengthened its retail banking business, by offering a wide range of retail products.