Businesses hit hard by COVID-19 to receive Euro 55 million financing boost

On 25 October 2021 at 02:12

Rwandan businesses that have been most impacted by COVID-19 are set to be supported with Euro 55 million of new financing backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The funds will be managed by Bank of Kigali (BK) and KCB Bank Rwanda.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana has welcomed EIB’s latest private sector engagement in Rwanda and the launch of its Euro 175 million East Africa COVID-19 Response Facility in the country.

Rwanda is the first country in East Africa to benefit from the new streamlined financing programme that will provide long term financing in both Rwandan Francs and US Dollars.

“COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted Rwandan businesses which has led to a negative economic impact on our country. The European Investment Bank partnership with Bank of Kigali and KCB-Rwanda will ensure that businesses can continue to invest and more specifically, targeted support will also improve access to financing by companies that contribute to the economic empowerment of women and girls,” Minister Ndagijimana said.

Commenting on the development, Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President said: “Since the COVID-19 outbreak the European Investment Bank has worked with leading banks and financial institutions across Africa to ensure that companies can continue to invest, protect jobs and harness new business opportunities. The agreements signed today will help strengthen economic resilience in Rwanda and includes targeted financing for female entrepreneurs and firms that accelerate the economic empowerment of women.”

Dr. Diane Karusisi, Bank of Kigali Chief Executive Officer has also highlighted that provided funds will help clients to maintain business growth.

“We are delighted to partner with the European Investment Bank in financing Rwandan businesses that were affected by the pandemic especially women-led businesses. The funds provided will enable our clients to stay afloat and continue progressing steadily even after the COVID-19 crisis. This facility clearly compliments the Government of Rwanda and Bank of Kigali’s efforts to stimulate the country’s economic recovery,” she said.

“It is our pleasure to be involved in this partnership with the European Investment Bank," said George Odhiambo, the Managing Director of KCB Bank Rwanda.

“We believe in enabling local businesses with multiple financing options, targeted to various sector growth initiatives. Over the past 2 years we have seen several businesses and households overly affected by COVID-19. Therefore, this is a timely convergence of funds that will ultimately seek to benefit women entrepreneurs, many of whom are the backbone of our society”, he added.

30% of new financing will support female economic empowerment.

Female led companies and firms that contribute to gender quality will benefit from improved access to finance up to 30% of the total financing under the two new credit lines.

Allocation to companies that support female economic empowerment will be made under the EIB’s SheInvest criteria and global 2X Challenge Criteria.

Among others, the Government of Rwanda and the European Investment Bank have also signed a project agreement to complete the last milestone of the financing contract worth Euro 22 million for National Health Referral Laboratory Project.