Nairobi, Kenya, March 3, 2014
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced an agreement with AccessBank Rwanda, valued at $300,000, to support the development of a new commercial microfinance bank in Rwanda that will expand lending to micro, small, and medium-sized entrepreneurs, especially in the agricultural sector.
Loans to small-scale businesses in Rwanda today account for less than 20 percent of loans made by the banking sector. Such companies account for 98 percent of private businesses and 36 percent of private sector employment in Rwanda.
The new microfinance institution, AB Bank Rwanda Limited, will focus on entrepreneurs nurturing small-scale enterprises during its initial two years of operations before widening its focus to include small- and medium-sized businesses.
David Crush, Manager, IFC Access to Finance Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “The AccessBank network has a very good track record of providing sustainable credit to small-scale entrepreneurs elsewhere Africa. Increasing access to credit is especially important in the agricultural sector to support rural employment and livelihoods.”
During the initial 5-year start-up phase, during which IFC will provide advisory support, AB Bank Rwanda plans to open and establish 8 branches, open and maintain 60,000 deposit accounts, and build an outstanding loan portfolio of 7,000 micro loans, 600 SME loans, and 1,800 agricultural loans.
Christoph Kneiding, CEO, AB Rwanda, said, “Over the first two months, we have already seen strong interest from our target clientele. Many customers have started to deposit money and applied for our loan products.”
AB Bank Rwanda was formally established in July 2013 by AccessBank Microfinance Holding, IFC, FMO, KfW and AB Rwanda. Shareholders IFC, FMO and KfW each own 16.5 percent of shares, and Access Holding owns the remaining 50.5 percent. The AccessBank network began operations in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2007, and has other operations in Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia.
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