On May 26th, UOB signed a loan agreement to receive $2.5 million from International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of World Bank group. It is known to be a privilege in the micro finance industry that an MFI receives a loan or an investment from IFC since its due diligence process is pretty challenging and IFC normally provides subsequent technical assistance (TA) support after a loan and/or an equity investment. Indeed, it took more than 10 months until it came to fruition.
It is the first case in Rwanda for any financial institution to receive a local currency funding from IFC and also is the first case within the Opportunity International network.
With the loan, UOB will be able to expand its service to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly in the rural areas.
At the signing ceremony, the Minister of Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba and the Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda Ambassador Claver Gatete were present. During the key note speech, Honorable Minister Kanimba said, "Rwandan Government named 2011 "The Year of SMEs." With the additional resources available from IFC, the SMEs will surely benefit, particularly in the rural areas."
Jeffrey Lee said, "UOB is a leader in micro finance, using proven methodologies as well as efficient and affordable technology solutions. With the additional resources, UOB will be able to facilitate its outreach to the under-banked and under-served clientele in remote areas."
We praised the Lord for His ample provision of financial resources for UOB to help the underprivileged people of Rwanda.
Also IFC signed an agreement jointly with Business Partners International, a South African SME lender, and Rwanda Enterprise Investment Cooperative (REIC) to support the SME industry. - Jeffrey