NGO CARE Rwanda, a branch of Swiss relief agency CARE International (CARE), reportedly stated that the amount of rural informal savings have reached approximately RWF 1.9 billion (USD 3.18 million) as part of its Voluntary Savings and Loan (VSL) scheme targeting Rwanda’s unbanked population. CARE Rwanda has identified financial literacy and transparency as areas in need of attention to further financial inclusion in the countryside. There is also a “need to encourage farmers to take advantage of credit services at their disposal to set up entrepreneurial projects” .
These initiatives fall under CARE Rwanda’s Sustainable Access to Financial Services for Investment (SAFI) project, which was established in 2011. The project “consists of educating people about saving, investment, credit management” and involves establishing savings and loans groups, which now total approximately 9,000 groups with 233,000 members  .
For the year 2010, 6 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Rwanda reported to the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) an aggregate gross loan portfolio of USD 18.4 million outstanding to approximately 69,800 borrowers and total deposits of USD 8.4 million. While an estimated 78 percent of Rwandans are unbanked, the Rwandan government aims to raise lower this figure to 20 percent by 2017.
By Brendan Millan, Research Associate
About CARE Rwanda: Established in 1984, CARE Rwanda is a branch of the Swiss NGO CARE International (CARE). CARE Rwanda’s services include maternal health care, sanitation, cross-border relief for displaced people, and emergency relief. At the height of emergency efforts in 1994, CARE Rwanda assisted an estimated 1.5 million internally displaced people, refugee returnees and impoverished local residents. CARE has since has built a set of rehabilitation and development programs that include the distribution of seeds, tools and food and financial inclusion.
About CARE International: CARE International (CARE) is a Switzerland-based non-governmental organization with global poverty reduction programs aimed at developing women’s economic capabilities. Founded in 1945 with the aim of sending supplies to post-war Europe fromAmerica, it has evolved into a multipurpose humanitarian organization. As of June 30, 2010, CARE reportedly supported 905 projects in 87 countries that reached 82 million people. That year it reported total assets of EUR 592 million (USD 782 million).
Sources and Resources:
 All Africa: “Rwanda: Rural Informal Savings Hit Rwf1.9 Billion” by Dias Nyesig. http://allafrica.com/stories/201203230418.html
 CARE: “Project Information.”, http://www.care.org/careswork/projects/RWA096.asp
MicroCapital.org Article, February 22, 2012, “Microfinance Assets in Rwanda Grow 12% to $78m”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-microfinance-assets-in-rwanda-grow-12-1-to-78-6m/
MicroCapital.org Article, December 15, 2011, “Village Savings and Loans Associations Featured in The Economist as ‘Hottest Trend in Microfinance’”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-village-savings-and-loans-associations-featured-in-the-economist-as-hottest-trend-in-microfinance/
MicroCapital.org Article, July 28, 2011, “National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) Incorporates Microfinance Programs as National Strategy to Achieve 80 Percent Access to Finance Target by 2017”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-national-bank-of-rwanda-nbr-incorporates-microfinance-programs-as-national-strategy-to-achieve-80-percent-access-to-finance-target-by-2017/
MicroCapital.org Article, June 12, 2011, “Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) Cautions Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) Against ‘One Size Fits All’ Approach, Particularly in Rural Areas”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-association-of-microfinance-institutions-in-rwanda-amir-cautions-microfinance-institutions-mfis-against-%E2%80%9Cone-size-fits-all%E2%80%9D-approach-particularly-in-rural-area/
MicroCapital.org Article, May 31, 2011, “Rwanda’s Bank of Kigali Announces Three Microfinance Products Targeting Rural Financial Inclusion”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-rwanda%E2%80%99s-bank-of-kigali-announces-three-microfinance-products-targeting-rural-financial-inclusion/
MicroCapital Universe Profile: CARE Rwanda, http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=CARE+Rwanda
MicroCapital Universe Profile: CARE International, http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=CARE+International
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