Bloomberg News

Rwanda Aims to Boost Access to Finance to 80% of Population

June 02, 2011

(Updates with Equity Bank’s expansion in third paragraph.)

    June 2 (Bloomberg) -- Rwanda plans to boost the number of people with access to finance to 80 percent of the population by 2017 from 21 percent currently, central bank Governor Claver Gatete said.

The government is encouraging commercial banks outside of the country to begin operations in Rwanda, while working with local lenders to expand the number of branches and automated teller machines, Gatete said in an interview in the capital, Kigali, today.

Equity Bank Ltd., Kenya’s biggest lender by market value, won a license this year to operate in Rwanda and is preparing to start lending, the governor said. Equity Bank plans to open five branches in Rwanda and three in Tanzania, Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi said on March 30.

“It is the one that goes to the very last person in the rural areas,” Gatete said. “They are very aggressive.”

Rwanda’s economy, which expanded 7.5 percent in 2010, has doubled in size since 2001, according to the World Bank. A 1994 genocide led to the deaths of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a 100-day massacre.

--Editors: Nasreen Seria, Gordon Bell

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Murdock in Kigali at hmurdock1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net -0- Jun/02/2011 14:39 GMT


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