AFR 2019 Annual Report Summary
2019 was another transformative year for Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR)
Our efforts expanded from designing and piloting projects to realising key impacts within the financial sector specifically benefiting farmers, women and refugees in Rwanda. Since 2010, we have pioneered the development of inclusive insurance, Long Term Savings Scheme, financing to agriculture and financing targeting vulnerable groups like women and refugees. Today there are signs of a vibrant and competitive market for all these unique innovations.
Our research has found many ways in which a variety of financial services have a positive and empowering impact on people’s lives. But overall it there is a lot that could be done including making digital financial services interoperable and less costly to the masses. Additionally, financing for inclusive human development remains a challenge in Rwanda. The 2019 report shares some of the stories of our work with partners aimed at exploring the frontiers of how we can enhance financing as part of a braver movement to realise a big vision for the financial system as an enabler of sustainable economic development.
In 2019, AFR engaged with the FSD Network, Board and Investment Committee to pave way for a new strategic direction of FSD 2.0. This approach provides a more appropriate response towards financial sector development challenges, enhancing financing mechanisms that support inclusive growth of African economies in priority sectors such as health, education, housing among others. Furthermore, an FSD Network business case was completed and submitted to DFID for GBP 320 Million funding to expand DFID’s financial sector development work into new markets and scale-up existing support in Africa.
In partnership with key stakeholders, AFR continued to drive the growth of the financial sector through the development of innovative and client-centric products reaching 935,518 clients (363,221 women) as of December 2019. To achieve this AFR supported 24 Financial Service Providers (FSPs) to develop 52 inclusive financial products mainly credit or saving products targeting vulnerable people such as women and refugees as well as micro-insurance products for farmers.
Research and Data Analytics continues to be at the heart of AFR’s programming as well as advocacy agenda. In partnership with key stakeholders, AFR commissioned the fourth Finscope survey. This survey provides the demand side information on the determinants of financial inclusion for different segments of Rwanda’s population including women, youth, farmers, SMEs. In addition, we supported the training of analysts to improve local capacity in analysis and interpretation of this important dataset. The final report is expected to be launched in early 2020 and is expected to support data-driven decisions in the financial sector.
During the same period, AFR adopted a Knowledge Management Strategy. The strategy’s objective is to support AFR to become a recognised knowledge leader for inclusive Financial Sector Development in Rwanda. As part of implementing the strategy, AFR actively showcased its work at international conferences held in Rwanda such as Alliance for Financial Global Policy Forum held in September and GSMA 360 Africa Conference held in July 2019.