Epiphanie is age 40. She is married and has eight children, between 6 and 18 years old. They all attend school. She has been a rice farmer for eight years and her husband works as a farmer. She has requested a Kiva loan to use to pay her labor costs. She plans to use the profits to pay the school fees for her children and to buy medical insurance.
The agriculture sector accounts for 37 percent of Rwanda's gross domestic product, generates 65 percent of Rwanda's export revenue and employs approximately 90 percent 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 under-served 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.