Building Inclusive Financial Sector in Rwanda ( BIFSIR)

What is the project about?

 Wowen becoming micro-entrepreneurs (Photo : UNDP/Elena Ganan)

The programme aims at contributing to capacity building of the various stakeholders at the macro, meso micro, and client levels, with a view of supporting the development of sustainable, quality and diversified financial services that are accessible to the less advantaged Rwanda, both in rural and in urban areas, and to improve their economic and social status. BIFSIR is set within the strategic framework of the UNDAP, EDPRS II, FSDP II and NMPIS II. It aims to contribute to poverty reduction and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by promoting inclusive finance and entrepreneurship programs. With a budget of $US 8 million over 6 years (2009-2015), the Programme is jointly funded by UNDP, UNCDF, and Republic of Korea-UNDP MDG Trust Fund. The Programme remains open to other donors interested in developing an inclusive financial sector in Rwanda to broaden access to financial services.

Achievements in 2013- 2014

Improvement of Access to Finance through establishment of 416 U-SACCOs

Since 2011 BIFSIR has provided technical and financial assistance to the central bank and to the Ministry of Finance to establish and supervise 416 Umurenge SACCOs (Savings & Credit Cooperatives) throughout the country. In 2013, the project provided 88 computers to 88 U SACCOs as a basis for computerization and institutional capacity building. So far, the number of adult population accessing financial services in Rwanda has increased from 21% in 2008 to 42% in 2012. The government target remains to achieving 80% financial inclusion by 2017.

Refinancing of SACCOs and MFIs

BIFSIR project support two local refinancing agencies to offer line of credits.  In 2013, two Micro Finance Institutions reached 36,671 new borrowers of which 60% are rural women entrepreneurs. 45 MFIs and SACCOs were refinanced in 2014 by BIFSIR grantees and 20,998 MSEs accessed credit through refinancing.

Promotion of entrepreneurship among women and youth in Rwanda

BIFSIR has supported a national entrepreneurship initiative called “Hanga Umurimo” (“create your own job” in Kinyarwanda) since 2013. To date, 1,500 apprentices (585 female) obtained vocational training in Tailoring, Carpentry, Haircut, Mechanics as well as entrepreneurship training to start own business. The project also linked the trainees to SACCOs to get loans. So far 873 apprentices acquired loans to start small businesses.

Advancing technology based financial services to rural population

Funded by BIFSIR, Urwego Opportunity Bank implemented a mobile banking and agent banking system which has made tremendous contribution of extending financial services to the poor population in Rwanda.  Since the launch UOB has reached more than 36,000 mHose subscribers of which 67% are women.


Who finances it


Contributed amount


USD 2,000,000


USD 2,400,000

UNCDF One Fund

USD 25,000

Republic of Korea – UNDP MDG Trust Fund

USD 3,239,758

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