Gaspard is 49, married to a farmer and has five children, all of whom attend school. He has been a rice farmer for eight years. He has requested a Kiva loan to use to meet labor costs. He plans to use the profits to pay his children's school fees and to pay for medical insurance.
The agriculture sector accounts for 37 per cent of Rwanda's gross domestic product, generates 65 per cent of Rwanda's export revenue, and employs approximately 90 per cent 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.