Rwamagana, April 20th, 2021... Equity Bank Rwanda is pleased to announce the launch of new loan products for the agriculture sector targeting agribusinesses and farmers in Rwanda in eight value chains: maize, Irish potatoes, rice, coffee, tea, dairy, beans and horticulture.
Equity Bank started its operations in Rwanda in 2011 and provides a wide range of products including digital and women-focused loans with an asset base of 160 billion RWF. As part of its vision for the next five years, Equity Bank Rwanda plans to grow its agriculture portfolio and dedicate at least 30% of its entire portfolio to agri-lending. Currently, agriculture accounts for 30% of the country’s GDP but less than 2% of the loans are geared towards the sector.
The development of these new agri-lending products was supported by UKAid through its IMSAR programme, which is helping improve market systems for agriculture in Rwanda. IMSAR’s support has helped the bank to develop, trial and roll out tailored financial products to reach farmers and agribusinesses across the country. This partnership aims to facilitate greater access to finance, a major impediment to the growth of agriculture in Rwanda.
During the launch event in Rwamagana on Tuesday 20th April, Mr.Hannington Namara, the Managing Director of Equity Bank Rwanda PLC , was appreciative of the support provided and expressed the bank’s commitment to realise its ambition to promote financial access for smallholder farmers and agribusinesses at scale. In targeting and lending support to the agriculture sector, he was saying “The farmers don’t just grow the crops, they help feed and grow the nation.”
Ms Anna Wilson, Development Director at the British High Commission in Kigali, also attended the launch and added: “The UK has a long-standing development partnership with Rwanda which includes a significant focus on supporting economic growth. We are delighted to see companies such as Equity Bank Rwanda committing and expanding resources to the agriculture sector, which is vital for driving inclusive growth. We hope that these tailored financial products will meet the needs of farmers and agribusinesses, really adding value and supporting the wider economy.”
The Director of District development programs in Eastern province, Mr Rugaju Berwa Alexis, who attended the event said: “’ We are very grateful for this partnership and we promise full support to work closely with the farmers in this region to support them to take the agribusiness to the next level “
Improving Market Systems for Agriculture in Rwanda (IMSAR) is a UK Aid programme that aims to stimulate growth and reduce poverty in Rwanda. IMSAR works to identify market failures – such as limited access to inputs, finance, knowledge, and technology– and develop interventions to address them in partnership with market actors. As of April 2021, IMSAR has 23 partners involved in the input, aggregation, and finance markets. So far IMSAR has generated an estimated RWF 3.1 Billion in private sector investment and facilitated additional export worth RWF 1.5 billion.
About Equity Bank Rwanda
Equity Bank Rwanda began its operations in 2011 and is registered as a commercial bank by the National Bank of Rwanda. The Bank has its Head Office located in Kigali, with a footprint of 14 branches and is supported by 2800 agents, 1220 merchants and a network of 21 ATMs.
Equity Bank Rwanda is a subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings Plc, a financial services company listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Uganda Securities Exchange, and Rwanda Stock Exchange. In addition to Equity Bank Rwanda, the Group has banking subsidiaries in, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, and a Commercial Representative Office in Ethiopia; with additional non-banking subsidiaries engaged in the provision of investment banking, custodial, insurance agency, philanthropy, consulting, and infrastructure services.
Equity Group has an asset base of over USD 10 billion. With over 14.3 million customers, the Group is one of the biggest banks by customer base in the region. The Group has a footprint of 336 branches, 53,151 Agents and 34,862 Merchants and 725 ATMs. The Group is the largest bank in market capitalization in East and Central Africa. The Banker Top 1000 World Banks 2020 ranked Equity Bank 754 overall in its global ranking, 62nd in soundness (Capital Assets to Assets ratio), 55th in terms of Profits on Capital and 20th on Return on Assets. In the same year, Moody’s gave the Bank a global rating of B2 with a negative outlook same as the sovereign rating of the Kenyan government due to the Bank’s strong brand recognition, solid liquidity buffers and resilient funding profile, established domestic franchise and extensive adoption of digital and alternative distribution channels. Equity Group Holdings Plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya.
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