Washington, D.C./Kigali, May 20, 2014—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today reaffirmed its commitment to supporting
the private sector in Rwanda. At a ceremony in Kigali with government and
business leaders, IFC marked its inaugural “Umuganda” bond and signed
agreements with AB Bank Rwanda, Urwego Opportunity Bank, and IHS to expand
access to finance and telecommunications in Rwanda.
At the event, IFC Vice President and
Treasurer Jingdong Hua thanked the Rwandan minister of finance and the
governor of the National Bank of Rwanda for their partnership and support.
IFC last week issued 15 billion Rwandan franc-denominated bonds, marking
the first issuance by a non-resident in Rwanda’s domestic capital markets.
“IFC’s Umuganda bond is aimed at capital
market development and embodies the partnership and support we have received
from our counterparts at the Ministry of Finance, the National Bank of
Rwanda, the Capital Markets Authority, and domestic investors,” said Hua.
“This bond would not have been possible without your confidence in us.
It is a testament to the strength of our partnership with the Rwandan authorities
and private sector.”
During the event, IFC also signed financing
agreements with AB Bank Rwanda, Urwego Opportunity Bank, and IHS Holding
to support access to finance and telecommunications in Rwanda.
“IFC seeks to support companies in
Africa who share our vision for locally-driven growth. Our investments
in AB Bank, Urwego Opportunity Bank and IHS’ Rwanda operation will increase
access to finance for local entrepreneurs and expand Rwanda’s telecommunications
network, both of which are essential for economic growth,” said Jean Philippe
Prosper, IFC Vice President for Sub Saharan Africa, Latin America and the
IFC made a local-currency investment
of 1.7 billion Rwandan francs or approximately $2.5 million equivalent
in AB Bank Rwanda to support the expansion of microfinance services in
the country. AB Bank launched operations in Rwanda in January. With IFC’s
support, in the next five years AB Rwanda expects to expand services to
over 25,000 customers in micro, small and medium enterprises and low-income
households. The investment also deepens IFC’s partnership with Access
Holdings, the shareholding company of AB Bank. IFC has previously invested
with Access Holdings in Madagascar, Liberia, Zambia, Tanzania and Nigeria.
IFC also invested 1.6 billion Rwandan
francs or $2.4 million equivalent in Urwego Opportunity Bank, a microfinance
bank, to increase access to finance for farmers, start-up businesses, and
women entrepreneurs. The investment continues a relationship that began
in 2010, when IFC first invested in Urwego Opportunity Bank. The bank now
has an outstanding portfolio lent over $14 million to 40,000 microfinance
In Rwanda, IFC makes local currency
loans using a swap facility established in 2009 with National Bank of Rwanda—the
first such agreement between a multilateral organization and an African
Central Bank. Using the swap facility IFC has now invested 17 billion Rwandan
francs, or approximately $25 million, to support agribusiness, manufacturing
and finance for small businesses in the country. By borrowing in their
currency of revenue, these businesses are protected from currency risk.
At the ceremony, IFC also signed a $25
million facility to support IHS Rwanda, a telecommunications infrastructure
company, to expand the reach of Rwanda’s existing networks. Affordable
connectivity is a powerful tool to extend financial, educational and other
services. Currently, only about 63% of Rwandans have access to cellular
technology, compared to 84% on average across Africa.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries,
we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme
poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed
to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the
private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development
challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org