The loan is Rwanda’s first one through the International Finance Corporation’s global $8 billion Covid-19 facilities launched in March 2020 to help businesses maintain operations during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) said the loan was availed to help I&M Bank (Rwanda) increase lending to thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), many of which are facing Covid-19 cash-flow challenges.
“Our support will increase the bank’s liquidity and help its small business clients continue their activities and sustain jobs. This will ensure small businesses are well equipped to navigate the difficult waters of Covid-19,” said IFC’s resident representative for Rwanda Dan Kasirye.
According to a World Bank Group report, SMEs comprise the vast majority of all businesses in Rwanda, and about 40 percent of them are owned by women who struggle to access credit facilities.
Mr. Kasirye said IFC’s support will enable I&M to provide additional trade-related or working capital loans.
World Bank’s private-sector lending arm is also helping small businesses in Rwanda through online crisis management webinars.
“This funding of $10 million will allow us to meet increasing financial needs of our small business customers as they recover from the negative impact caused by the Covid-19 crisis,” said I&M’s chief executive officer Robin Bairstow.
Previous investment by IFC helped I&M increase its loans to SMEs by 14 percent between 2018 and 2019.