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German Government Signs BK, I&M Bank Rwf10B Grant For Rwandan SMEs




The German government has provided a total grant funding of 10.7 million Euros to two local banks, which both banks will deploy to selected SMEs in their portfolios suffering from the negative effects of Covid-19.

Each bank will supplement these grants by providing additional credit relief to their pre-selected SME clients from their own sources. This combination of measures aims to enable the beneficiary SMEs to maintain the largest share of their employees and to support them in their economic recovery.

The funds will be disbursed through KFW, German’s state-owned development bank to Bank of Kigali Plc. and I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc. to benefit over 400 SMEs across a wide spectrum of important economic sectors (such as hospitality, construction, education, logistics or health) through the project. The interventions of both banks combined contribute to the preservation of almost 10,000 jobs in SME’s directly, and a countless number in other small enterprises indirectly.

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Rwanda, Dr. Thomas Kurz said that in light of the massive socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Rwanda, substantive action is necessary to help preserve employment, production capacities and supply chain linkages and support the recovery. He said that with the help of BK and I&M, the project will support SMEs – the job engine of the Rwandan economy – across all industries to fund jobs, working capital, and support credit service.

BK’s CEO, Dr. Diane Karusisi, said in a statement that, “We believe that when our SME sector is assisted to weather this crisis, it will continue to be uniquely positioned in the transformation of our economy, providing off-farm jobs and supporting the livelihoods of many.” She believes that “This facility, aimed at preserving jobs in the SME sector is a very good complement to Government’s and BK’s efforts to stimulate the economic recovery.”

Robin Bairstow, I&M Bank CEO, said “The grant clearly compliments the efforts of the Rwandan Government and the Bank to provide assistance to the sector, especially maintaining employment.” He added that his bank has built a strong SME portfolio through Financial Skills’ Workshops offered to clients to mitigate their businesses’ financial risks during the pandemic. “We expect our customers to stay afloat and continue progressing steadily even after the COVID-19 Pandemic. In the past, we have seen businesses grow from SME to Corporate profiles and this new grant will make it possible for our clients to maintain that growth.”

The Director of KfW‘s Office in Rwanda, Ms. Charlotte Povel, said that this shows that Rwandan banks assume responsibility for the economic recovery of Rwanda and for sustaining and fostering jobs in the SME sector. “It also shows, how international development and the domestic financial sector can work hand in hand to fight Covid-19 and its related effects,” she said.

From the grant, BK received 5.2 Euros (about Frw5.8bn) and 5.5 Euros went to I&M Bank.

How the two banks received the grant

Within the framework of the Compact with Africa and the special initiative on training and employment, the German Federal Ministry of Cooperation has supported the establishment of an “Investing for Employment” GmbH through KfW. The GmbH is based in Germany and operates similarly to a regional fund: calls for proposals are planned in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Rwanda. A first-round in Ethiopia has already taken place. Applications were open to the public and private institutions/companies that use the grants received to make investments that primarily create jobs. The whole process is supported by a consultant and accompanied by KfW.

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Ethiopia & IMF In Talks To Revamp Old Debt



Ethiopia asked the International Monetary Fund for a new deal, days after France and China co-chaired the first meeting of the nation’s major creditors panel to rework the nation’s previous debt.

Setting up a creditors’ panel and an agreement on how to deal with Ethiopia’s nearly U$30 billion of external debt paves the way for the IMF to determine how to engage with the country on economic recovery.

The lender’s executive board has yet to approve disbursements from the Extended Credit Facility and Extended Fund Facility, the former of which has expired — despite reaching staff-level agreements.

The government requested a new IMF credit arrangement, potentially with a similar amount, to replace the one that just lapsed, State Minister for Finance Eyob Tekalign told reporters on Wednesday in the capital, Addis Ababa.

A new ECF will grant Ethiopia access to concessional resources under a poverty reduction and growth program, he said.

The IMF board in December 2019 approved an equivalent of $2.9 billion for Ethiopia’s two credit arrangements.

On Thursday, the Washington-based lender said it was “too soon” to engage with Ethiopia over any possible new program.

The formation of an Ethiopian creditors panel marks a breakthrough in a global push to restructure the debt of poor countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic under the Group of 20’s common framework.

It could also set a roadmap for the role of private creditors on the same.

The panel may propose that commercial lenders push their payment-due dates by one or two years, Eyob said later in an interview.

“The creditors committee will reach an agreement on some parameters on how to deal with comparable debt treatment,” Eyob said. The “sense we got is that there was no strong opinion on this, so we’re hopeful in getting the required amount of debt being restructured without market disruption.”

Ethiopia’s announcement on Jan. 29 that it plans to restructure its debt triggered a selloff of its $1 billion of Eurobonds. The yield on the 2024 debt has since risen, and traded at a record high of 11.75% by 11:07 a.m. in London.

Ethiopia’s economic pain, following the hit from the pandemic, was exacerbated by a civil war in its northern Tigray region, which has depleted government finances.

Ethiopia, along with at least two other African nations, Chad and Zambia, have approached creditors for debt relief under the G-20 program that aims to rework the debt for countries at risk of defaulting amid the fallout from the virus.

China’s inclusion as the co-chair of the creditor committee is key, according to Mark Bohlund, a senior credit analyst at REDD Intelligence.

It “strengthens the likelihood that re-profiling of debt service to bilateral creditors will need to be reciprocated by commercial creditors, for instance through a consent solicitation with eurobond holders to delay coupon payments,” Bohlund said.


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Airtel Rwanda Partners With Canal+ To Ease Payment Of Subscription Fees Via Airtel Money



Airtel Rwanda and Canal+ Rwanda have launched a partnership, enabling customers to easily make subscription payments.

The partnership announced at a joint press conference today provides clients of both CANAL+ and Airtel a simpler, instant and secure payments method using Airtel Money.

CANAL+ Rwanda is the subsidiary of CANAL+INTERNATIONAL, TV operator by satellite in Africa and present in over  25 African countries.

CANAL+ Rwanda have a trilingual package with 200 channels in French, Kinyarwanda and English and it offers accessible bouquet starting from 5,000 Francs with a distribution network throughout the country.

Speaking at the launch event, Airtel Rwanda Managing Director, Mr. Emmanuel Hamez said “We are delighted to launch this new service on our Airtel Money platform we welcome all Canal+ customers to enjoy the convenience and simplicity offered by Airtel Money both on the USSD as well as in the My Airtel App”.

The new service that was launched today comes on the heels of an ongoing Airtel Money campaign called Free P2P which enables all Airtel Money customers to send and receive any amount of money for FREE.

“Free P2P or Ohereza Amafaranga Ku Buntu was launched in June 2021 saw Airtel scrap all charges to send and receive money between customers, a major differentiator that positions Airtel Money to become the provider of choice when it comes to payment of good and services such Canal+ that we have launched today” added Hamez.

Canal+ Rwanda’s Managing Director, Madam Sophie TCHATCHOUA said “It gives me great pleasure to allow Canal+ client to renew their subscription with Airtel Money. The successful integration of our mutual services makes life easier for our beloved customers who can now recharge and seamlessly have their images back and all this can be done from the comfort of their home”.

To renew your subscription via Airtel Money, customers can simply dial the direct short code string *500*4*3*2*4*1# on either their smartphone on feature phone, input their 14 Digit of their decoder  number, select their preferred bouquet and make the payment which is recognized by the Canal+ billing system instantly.

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Hundreds Of Passengers Miss Flight In Uganda Due To Delayed COVID-19 Tests



Hundreds of Ugandans have been left stranded at Entebbe International Airport by the Emirates Airways after the laboratory where they had taken their Covid-19 results delayed to return them on time.

In a Snapchat post by Ugandan socialite Sheila Gashumba, she ranted, ‘’When I tell Ugandans that Covid in Uganda is a business they say I have ‘kajanja’.

Now all Emirates passengers have missed their flights because Safari Lab sent Covid results at 2:45pm and Emirates closed its gate at 3pm.

The hospital said it couldn’t work on everyone in the short time.

Around 300 passengers missed their flight yet Safari Lab had made a total of UgSh75m since everyone had paid UGX 250,000 for the test.

In the video where all passengers were visibly angry and frustrated, they can be heard asking for what the solution is and who is going to pay for the tickets again now that those that they had paid for can no longer be used anymore.

Passengers expressed their frustration at the rot in the service.

“I experienced such thing in March as the officers in charge claimed that the gates were close at 1pm as the flight was at 3pm,” one twitter user said.

Some made jokes out of it and asked, if this was because of the US$10 tax that is in the process of being introduced and will be paid by anyone that leaves the country using the Entebbe International Airport.

Another twitter user @kasoxialex2000 asked, ‘’@UgandaCAA (Uganda Civil Aviation Authority), but seriously you guys when you move to some airports don’t you copy something? Why are we ever backwards??? Stop embarrassing us. Who will save Uganda’’
By press time there was no official communication from the Civil Aviation Authority, Safari Lab nor Emirates Airways.

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