Jean Bosco is married with three children between the ages of 1 and 17. All are enrolled in school. His wife works as a farmer. He has been a rice farmer for 15 years. He would like to get this loan to buy fertilizers and seeds and to pay for labor to get the best harvest. With the profits, he plans to expand his planting area to get more output. In the photo, Jean Bosco holds a Kiva borrower profile form; behind him there is another group of agriculture borrowers waiting to have their pictures taken by the lending staff.
The agriculture sector accounts for 37% of Rwanda's gross domestic product, generates 65% of Rwanda's export revenue, and employs approximately 90% of Rwandans (as of 2009). Despite the importance of agriculture to Rwandans and their economy, financial institutions view lending to fund agricultural activities as a high-risk proposition because the profitability of these activities is affected by weather, natural disasters, and price fluctuations. For this reason, farmers in Rwanda remain underserved by financial institutions. Urwego Opportunity Bank is expanding into this market and is happy to provide Kiva lenders with the opportunity to support Rwandan farmers.
About Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda (UOB)
Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB) is a Rwandan bank specializing in microfinance. It offers credit products to individuals and groups interested in starting or expanding their businesses. It also offers training in business development, financial literacy and health management. Given that approximately 90% of the Rwandan population is directly or indirectly related to the agricultural sector, Kiva lenders’ funds will be used to support UOB’s agricultural loan products, which are vital to the clients living in remote areas.