The Bank of Kigali (BK) Plc has announced big plans of financing the agri-business value chain with at least Rwf150billion in the next five years as a way of financially transforming the agricultural sector.
The announcement was made at a BK luncheon event with its SME Clients in Bugesera district held at La Palisse Hotel Nyamata on March 28, 2023 as part of the bank’s ongoing Banking on Women Campaign.
The event was organized in order to recognize and celebrate the hard work, dedication and achievements of exceptional women in business, who have been at the forefront of the country’s development.
Benjamin Mutimura, the Chief Commercial Officer at Bank of Kigali said that women in Bugesera have made progress in working with the bank but asked them to adopt the use of technology in banking as a way to improve access to BK e-banking services.
“Women are at the forefront in many development aspects, thus we need more to adopt technology so as to do business with ease using phones instead of paperwork,” Mutimura said.
He further said that the bank has launched a Device Financing program “Macye Macye” which will enable more citizens to own phones which will enable many to use internet banking, applications in line with this year’s International Women’s Day theme- “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
Mutimura pointed out that the bank will soon, through its partners, focus on training its clients, especially women, in finance management, market access, and launching new financial products for women.
BK CEO, Dr. Diane Karusisi said: “We have done research with our partners, to find out reasons why women businesses remain at SME level from Rwf20million to Rwf50million which shows most of them are not confident to seek big loans up to Rwf100million.”
She said, that BK has set up an agri-business department that will manage the whole agriculture value chain and plans to set aside Rwf150billion in the next five years, as investment in promoting the agricultural sector alone.
That’s is coupled with capacity building.
“For us to remove this fear, we choose to train women. We have a budget for training for women within other groups to learn from successful entrepreneurs but also add the component of technology,” Karusisi said.
She noted that this training will also add the component of technology as a way of scaling up business output and also reduce time spent using technology means.
“After this training we want to see women’s business grow in three years and advance in their activities as a way of contributing to the economy,” Karusisi said.
Johana Asiimwe, the representative of the private sector federation (PSF) in Bugesera district encouraged other women to deal with BK as a trusted bank to improve their business and financing needs since they are the largest local investors in the district.
Asiimwe commended BK for addressing key financial issues facing its clients, especially providing training and access to agri-business financing.
In discussions with BK officials, the bank clients also appreciated the business relationship with the bank in financially transforming their lives and development activities.
They asked to have loan contracts put in the Kinyarwanda language to enable many to read and understand better.
The BK clients also asked for a discount on the loan interest rate to further help them grow in business.
In response to client’s concerns, Karusisi said BK is ready to work with their customers, especially women to solve their concerns to attain their development goals.