KIGALI, Rwanda July 18, 2014—The World Bank Group today launched a program to mobilize technical capacity and knowledge to help Rwanda achieve its financial inclusion goals and targets. The Financial Inclusion Support Framework (FISF) for Rwanda is a US$2.25 million trust fund executed by the Bank Group and financed by the Dutch Government.
The program will focus on key areas expected to have the greatest impact based on Rwanda’s financial inclusion agenda. These include: Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Finance; Financial Consumer Protection; Financial Literacy; Payment Systems, and Financial Infrastructure. The FISF program is fully aligned with the government’s Financial Sector Development Plan, FSDPII.
Financial inclusion is a priority for the Bank Group to meet the challenge of achieving Universal Financial Access globally by 2020 and is vital to help overcome the challenge of eradicating extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity.
Rwanda has made remarkable progress in financial inclusion in recent years. The proportion of adults with financial access, both formal and informal, increased from 47% to 72% between 2008 and 2012. This achievement and the ambitious objective to raise financial inclusion to 90% by 2020 is a reflection of Rwanda’s deep commitment at the national level to create access to finance. It also demonstrates the support and mobilization of all stakeholders, both public and private, towards this goal.
“Rwanda has set an ambitious objective of reaching 80% of formal financial inclusion by 2017, and I am pleased to say that significant progress has already been made towards achieving this target.” said John Rwangombwa, Governor, National Bank of Rwanda.
The new FISF program will partner with and support Rwanda to achieve its financial inclusion goal, with a particular focus on improving access, usage and quality of financial services, especially for underserved and low-income populations in rural areas.
“Rwanda is the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa and one of two globally to benefit from this program. It will help the country meet its ambitious financial inclusion goal through technical assistance, advisory services, and capacity building for far-reaching policy and regulatory reforms as well as critical financial infrastructure development.” said Bertrand Badré, Managing Director and World Bank Group Chief Financial Officer.
“Access to affordable financial services can make a big difference in people’s lives. It can help them to take better charge of their future. I am very proud that the Netherlands supports this important program”, said Leoni Cuelenaere, Ambassador, Netherlands.
The FISF is the latest addition to the Bank Group’s engagement in Rwanda. The Bank Group is committed to continue providing support for the development of Rwanda’s financial sector in line with the new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Rwanda. The World Bank is currently working with the National Bank of Rwanda to strengthen financial stability with a US$2 million trust fund financed by the Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening Initiative (FIRST). In addition, the International Financial Corporation (IFC) is supporting financial and private sector development in the country with an expected investment of US$20 million under the new CPS four year period.
The new initiative will benefit from close collaboration with government, lawmakers, private sector, development partners, civil society, and academia.