World Bank grants $ 10 million loan to I&M

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By KENNEDY SENELWA

The World Bank’s private sector lending arm has provided a $ 10 million loan to I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc to support businesses facing liquidity issues related to Covid-19.

The loan is Rwanda’s first through the International Finance Corporation’s $ 8 billion global Covid-19 facility launched in March 2020 to help businesses maintain operations during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) said the loan was used to help I&M Bank (Rwanda) increase its lending to thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), many of whom are facing cash flow issues from Covid- 19.

“Our support will increase the bank’s liquidity and help its small business clients continue their operations and maintain their jobs. This will ensure that small businesses are well equipped to navigate the difficult waters of Covid-19, ”said IFC Resident Representative for Rwanda Dan Kasirye.

According to a World Bank Group report, SMEs represent the vast majority of all businesses in Rwanda, and around 40 percent of them are owned by women who have difficulty accessing credit facilities.

Mr. Kasirye said IFC’s support will enable I&M to provide additional loans related to trade or working capital.

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The World Bank’s private sector lending arm is also helping small businesses in Rwanda through online webinars on crisis management.

“This $ 10 million funding will allow us to meet the growing financial needs of our small business clients as they recover from the negative impact caused by the Covid-19 crisis,” said Robin Bairstow, CEO of I&M.

A previous investment from IFC helped I&M increase its lending to SMEs by 14% between 2018 and 2019.

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