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I&M Bank Secures US$10M From World Bank To Support SMEs, Jobs During COVID-19

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has extended a loan facility to I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc. to help the bank increase lending to thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Rwanda, many of which are facing COVID-19-related liquidity challenges.

The US$10 million loan is IFC’s first in Rwanda through its global US$8 billion fast-track COVID-19 facility, launched in March to help businesses maintain operations and jobs during—and after—the COVID-19 crisis.

IFC support will allow I&M Rwanda to provide additional trade-related or working capital loans to companies whose cash flows have been disrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It will also provide I&M Rwanda with additional liquidity to support its operations amid prevailing economic challenges.

Robin Bairstow, Chief Executive Officer of I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc, said, “IFC is our long term partner, and this funding of US$10 million will allow us to meet the increasing financial needs of our small business customers as they recover from the negative impact caused by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Dan Kasirye, IFC Resident Representative for Rwanda, said, “Our support to I&M Bank Rwanda will increase the bank’s liquidity and help its small business clients continue their activities and sustain jobs. This support will ensure that small businesses are well equipped to navigate the difficult waters of COVID-19.”

IFC’s previous investment and advisory support helped I&M Rwanda increase its loans to small businesses by 14% between 2018 and 2019.

IFC i also helping to strengthen the capacity of small businesses in Rwanda to better cope with COVID-19-related challenges through a series of crisis management webinars.

Small and medium-sized enterprises comprise the vast majority of all businesses in Rwanda, yet a quarter of those businesses—almost 40% of which are owned by women—struggle to access credit, according to a World Bank Group report. 

IFC’s private sector development support in Rwanda is focused on four strategic areas: affordable housing, agribusiness, inclusive finance, and sustainable infrastructure. IFC’s investment portfolio in Rwanda stood at US$62.8 million as of June 30, 2020.

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