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Small and landlocked in the East Africa region, Rwanda is hilly and fertile with a densely packed population of about 12.5 million people. Approximately 38% of the population live in poverty, 16% even in extreme poverty as per EICV5 (Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey 5). Rwanda now aspires to reach a Middle-Income Country (MIC) status by 2035 and a High-Income Country (HIC) status by 2050. This aspiration will be implemented through a series of seven-year National Strategies for Transformation (NST1), underpinned by detailed sectoral strategies that are aimed towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the finscope survey of 2020, 93 % of Rwandan adults are financially included with 77% using formal financial products/ services. Formal savings are used by 86% while formal loans are used by 22% of the adult population. Rural population in Rwanda was reported at 74 %. Still, 7% of adults in Rwanda do not use any financial products or services.
The promotion of “Umurenge SACCOs” in 2010 led to a substantial increase of financial inclusion in these areas. 90% of the population has access to an Umurenge SACCO within 5 km. However, financial literacy and the lack of qualified personnel in MFIs (Microfinance institutions) is still a constraint to sustainable financial inclusion in Rwanda.
Sparkassenstiftung opened an office in Kigali / Rwanda in 2008. It has been working with different partners such as AMIR (Association of Microfinance Institution of Rwanda), RICEM (Rwanda Institute of Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship and Microfinance), RCA (Rwanda Cooperatives Agency), ULK (Independent University of Rwanda) under different projects of strengthening the Microfinance sector through capacity building, vocational training, and financial education, strategic support of a Microfinance Training Academy, the restructuring of the Umurenge SACCO sector, the computerization of Umurenge SACCO and knowledge transfer.