Founded in 2004 to provide loans to low-income salary earners and micro-entrepreneurs, Rwanda Microfinance Limited (RMF) is part of Micro Africa, an East African microfinance group based in Nairobi, Kenya. At the time of the DB Start-up Fund loan in mid-2006, RMF had not yet reached operational self-sufficiency, and had a total loan portfolio of half a million dollars. The Start-up Fund provided a letter of credit in the amount of $100,000, which secured a Rwandan franc loan from a local lender. Since receiving the loan, RMF has become profitable, and now serves over 1300 clients with a portfolio over $1 million.
Now a restaurant owner, Nsengiymva Gilbert was selling milk and mandazi (fried dough) before he obtained his first RMF loan in November 2005. He started his milk business to help lift himself and his mother out of the devastating poverty they both faced after the 1994 genocide.
“The genocide brought the destruction of my parents’ retail shop. It ended in ruins and in the brutal killing of my father. After the war, I dropped out of school, crisscrossed Kigali in search for a job to no avail. Then the idea of selling milk to a nearby kindergarten school near my home came to me. However, the earnings from this business were not enough to buy me a refrigerator and enable me rent to bigger place to start a restaurant,” Gilbert says.
“I tried to get a loan from other banking institutions, but the conditions were a little too harsh and couldn’t provide an immediate solution to my desperate situation. That’s when a friend of mine told me about RML quick loans,” he explains.
After Gilbert took out a business loan of about $500, things improved. He bought a refrigerator for his dairy products and moved to a bigger place that he turned into a restaurant. The income generated from his restaurant business helped him build a decent home for his mother. “This business has served as a lifeline for me and my family‘s financial and social livelihood. Now my aged mother will no more spend sleepless nights when it rains,” he affirms. With additional support from RMF, Gilbert plans to expand his business.
The Deutsche Bank Start-Up Fund