The USAID Hub increased Rwandan SMEs’ access to capital funds through its support for the introduction of a new securities platform, the Small and Medium Enterprise Market Segment, by the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), launched March 29. The RSE Listings Forum 2018 drew nearly 150 participants, including 10 SMEs that the Hub will support to leverage the new platform to expand their businesses and deepen trade relations with the U.S.
"USAID is proud to support the Listings Forum and continue our work with local business owners. Through the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, USAID partners with East African and U.S. businesses to attract investment that transforms the East African private sector into vibrant global trading partners. The Hub enables local agribusiness firms to access capital under a catalytic capital program with GroFin SME Fund managers. In Rwanda, to date, our program has deployed close to $800,000 in new capital to growth-stage firms," said Malick Haidara, Chief of the Economic Growth Office, USAID-Rwanda pictured above.
The Hub-supported SMEs signed a memorandum of understanding with RSE during the event, under which the two parties will draw a roadmap to enable them to list on local bourse’s alternative market segment to raise investment capital. The 10 small firms come from the ICT, agribusiness, and manufacturing sectors, were selected during the just-ended of two-month "Access and Grow" campaign.
While launching the SME market segment, Minister of Finance Ambassador Clavier Gatete said the sector forms a 'very significant component' of the national economy and business landscape, but added that it was still facing a huge challenge accessing funding.
"Therefore, proactive stance by the RSE management to offer a sustainable solution to challenges facing SME sector in terms of availing technical advisory services and access to finance is a welcome gesture. The SME sector forms a very significant component of our economy and business landscape," said Minister Gatete.
The Hub is helping the 10 SMEs as part of its program to improve businesses access to capital through listing as a route to attract investment. This program supports the East African Community's overall objective to increase the level of financial integration across capital markets in the East African Community. The growth and regionalization of the capital markets is directly linked to regional economic growth and is a key priority within the EAC Common Markets Protocol.