The Economic Recovery Fund (ERF) that was established by the Government of Rwanda to support the recovery of businesses hardest hit by COVID-19 has benefited to over 3,000 small businesses that received financial support through microfinance institutions, an official source disclosed Tuesday in Kigali.The Fund was introduced in June last year with $100 million. The Executive Director of Association of Microfinance Institutions (AMIR), Aimable Nkuranga said that a total amount ranging between Rwf4 billion (4 million USD) and Rwf5 billion (5 million USD) has been channelled through Microfinance Institutions to help small businesses recover from Covid-19 effects.
There is also another portion to small businesses channelled through MFIs and Business Development Fund could increase in the next phase of the Economic Recovery Fund.
In the next phase, the amount is set to be increased to $350 million and the portion to small businesses through microfinance institutions could also increase, said the Rwandan minister of Finance and Economic planning, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana.
According to the Rwandan Central Bank, sectors eligible for this support include all businesses highly impacted by the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the virus, and exposed to consumer discretionary spending, and those with global supply chains that have been disrupted.
These include but not limited to Tourism, Manufacturing (including Agri-processing), Transport and Logistics and SMEs linked to domestic and global supply chain, according to the same source.