Home Business & TechEconomy Rwanda Cooperative Bank In The Making

Rwanda Cooperative Bank In The Making

by Daniel Sabiiti
9:03 pm

Minecofin and local leaders launch the automation of last 416th Umurenge Sacco in Kagano

Rwanda has automated the last Umurenge sectors savings and credit schemes- Umurenge Saccos(U-Sacco), paving the way for the establishment of the national Cooperative Bank.

The automation of Kagano Umurenge Sacco, in Nyamaseke district, was done this June 10, 2024, marking the completion of a process started 15 years ago but was delayed by major setbacks – including failure to secure a tech supplier and later facing derails in implementation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials said that the automation process (the first phase) which cost over $10million was also enabled by Rwanda managing to secure local talent to develop the technology need to set up core banking systems for all the 416 sector based Saccos in the country.

“The automation phase means that the saccos can now do core banking services using technology. This involves transitioning U-SACCOs from manual to automated management information systems for improved efficiency and member service,” said Faith Kobusinge Mugambwa, the Umurenge SACCOs automation and consolidation Project Manager.

With the implementation of automated systems, any of the U-SACCOs will eliminate the need for physical journals and offer real-time mobile notifications of transactions made on members’ account .

Minecofin said that introduction of mobile banking services enhances accessibility and convenience for members, enabling transactions anytime, anywhere with their respective Saccos.

The ministry says that the next step is a pilot project to connect Saccos on the mobile money platforms- a proof of concept that is currently being tried in 15 sectors in Musanze and Rutunga Sacco in Kigali city.”

As the automation of 416 USACCOs concludes, the next focus is on consolidating these SACCOs into District Saccos (D-SACCOs) nationwide and deploying mobile banking systems across all branches,” said Cyrille Hategikimana, Director General of Banking and Non- Banking Services at Minecofin.

Hategikimana revealed that future plans include D-SACCOs purchasing shares in the Cooperative Bank, fostering strategic linkages to provide advanced financial services to members.

The full process of having all Saccos, with over 3 million users, connected on mobile money is expected to be completed by the end of this year, while the process of having a cooperative bank is expected to start in 2026, and this, give or take will cost about $5-$6million according Mugambwa.

Ernestine Mutesi, the Kagano U-Sacco president said that after saving over Rwf263 million they started with loans of Rwf600,000 and now have reached to offering Rwf5 million but planning to increase to Rwf7 million-10 million according to Central Bank regulations.

“This automation will reduce time spent on queues and improve services offered by staff and improve service but also our savings,” Mutesi said.

Charged with having the successful implementation of the first cooperative bank scheme, Mugambwa said that they are banking on the success of the initial automation, which will pave the way for establishing legal instruments and collaboration of systems and this uphill journey will succeed because of the partners involved in the project.

The project is currently implemented by MINECOFIN), in collaboration with key ministries of Local government, ICT, and Commerce and government agencies (National Bank of Rwanda, Rwanda Cooperative Agency)and development partners (The World Bank, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office-FCDO, and  German Sparkassenstiftung for international Cooperation -DSIK) among others.

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