UNCDF has been present in Rwanda since 1981, promoting community empowerment through infrastructure development and service delivery.
Today, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
In 2020, UNCDF launched the ‘Rwanda: Expanding Financial Access & Digital and Financial Literacy’ (REFAD) programme to expand access to finance and improve digital and financial capability for vulnerable populations.
In 2019, UNCDF entered into a partnership with the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to accelerate the development of the Rwandan fintech sector through the establishment of the FintecHub. Through a multi-stakeholder approach, UNCDF will facilitate the provision of technical assistance and capacity building to foster innovation and develop solutions to shape the future of the fintech landscape in Rwanda.
Through Financial Inclusion Practice, UNCDF is implementing MicroLead, a global initiative that works with variety of financial institutions developing, piloting and scaling deposit services for low income, rural populations, particularly women. MicroLead focuses on financial inclusion through savings mobilization and supports establishment of Equity Bank subsidiary in Rwanda and is currently supporting the consolidation of Umurenge SACCOS through the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
From 2010 to 2015, UNCDF piloted YouthStart in partnership with Mastercard Foundation with the objective to increase access to integrated financial services for youth aged 12-24. YouthStart has provided technical and financial assistance to 10 financial institutions in 8 Sub-Saharan countries. By the end of the Programme (2015), YouthStart tripled its targets reaching more than 635,000 youth with financial and non-financial services.