NewsMonetary Authority of Singapore and National Bank of Rwanda Collaborate on the Rwanda Imbaraga SME Ecosystem

Monetary Authority of Singapore and National Bank of Rwanda Collaborate on the Rwanda Imbaraga SME Ecosystem

Singapore, 28 June 2023… The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR), in partnership with the Business Development Fund of Rwanda (BDF) and Proxtera Pte Ltd1, today announced the official launch of the Rwanda Imbaraga SME Ecosystem (RISE) programme. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two central banks, BDF and Proxtera. This collaborative initiative aims to foster stronger connections between financial institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in both Rwanda and Singapore.

2 RISE aims to equip SMEs in Rwanda with better capabilities to participate in domestic and cross-border trade opportunities, as well as enhanced access to trade financing. The programme components include:

  • Financial literacy and capacity building: Provide SMEs with access to financial literacy courses and digital services. 
  • Access to financing: Extend the data sets and credentials that micro, small and medium- sized enterprises (MSMEs) can use to secure funding.
  • Expanded trade opportunities: Create new and expanded trade opportunities within Rwanda, as well as between Rwanda and international markets, including Singapore, through business to business (B2B) marketplaces.

3 MAS and NBR will provide strategic direction and support for the RISE programme, including providing policy guidance on cross-border financial engagements and digital financial credentials building. BDF and Proxtera will play key roles in operationalising the RISE programme and infrastructure, in collaboration with Rwandan financial institutions, government entities and trusted data partners.

4 To learn more about the RISE programme, visit: www.bnr.rw.

5 John Rwangombwa, Governor, BNR, said, “We are glad for this great partnership with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in leveraging technology to support our financial sector. The RISE project will solve data unavailability through collecting alternative data to create trusted credentials that financial institutions can rely on to lend to SMEs. This will eventually bridge the gap of SME financing and expose Rwandan SMEs to international markets, through the digital marketplace.”

6 Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, said, “SMEs are important building blocks in economic development, while financial digital infrastructure is essential to a successful digital economy. With RISE, we are confident of driving enhanced financial services, developing stronger trusted credentials and creating greater business opportunities for the Rwanda SMEs and the Rwanda financial ecosystem. RISE is a major milestone that builds on our strong Singapore-Rwanda ties and we look forward to this public-private sector collaboration.”

7 Vincent Munyeshyaka, Chief Executive Officer, BDF, said, “BDF already recognises the strategic importance of the SME sector as a driving force behind economic growth, and within the context of addressing issues on SME access to finance, this partnership is pertinent and timely especially in the post covid-19 pandemic, as it introduces a new SME financing approach and access to markets.”

8 Commenting on the partnership, Saurav Bhattacharyya, Chief Executive Officer of Proxtera said, “Proxtera is proud to be working with National Bank of Rwanda, Business Development Fund and the Monetary Authority of Singapore to build and operationalise RISE. This partnership cements our commitment to uplifting SMEs as they embark on their cross-border trade journey. SMEs begin their journey through the SME Financial Empowerment Programme (SFE) and are able to equip themselves with the necessary financial and digital literacy skills to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. We are excited to work with our partners to foster an ecosystem that supports SMEs and strengthens the economy.”

About National Bank of Rwanda

The National Bank of Rwanda is Rwanda’s Central Bank mandated to ensure price stability and a sound financial system. For information about BNR visit its website www.bnr.rw.

About the Monetary Authority of Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore’s central bank and integrated financial regulator. As a central bank, MAS promotes sustained, non-inflationary economic growth through the conduct of monetary policy and close macroeconomic surveillance and analysis. It manages Singapore’s exchange rate, official foreign reserves, and liquidity in the banking sector. As an integrated financial supervisor, MAS fosters a sound financial services sector through its prudential oversight of all financial institutions in Singapore – banks, insurers, capital market intermediaries, financial advisors and financial market infrastructures. It is also responsible for well-functioning financial markets, sound conduct, and investor education. MAS also works with the financial industry to promote Singapore as a dynamic international financial centre. It facilitates the development of infrastructures, adoption of technology, and upgrading of skills in the financial industry.

About Business Development Fund

The Business Development Fund (BDF) Ltd, was established in 2011 by the Government of Rwanda and the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) with an aim to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in accessing financing, particularly those without sufficient collateral to obtain credit from traditional financial institutions.

BDF is one of the main agencies implementing the National Skills Development & Employment Promotion Strategy. In 2015, BDF opened branches countrywide for easy access to MSMEs. The services offered by BDF are Guarantee Scheme facility, Women & Youth Grant facility, Agribusiness facility, Leasing and Micro Leasing facility, Sacco Refinancing facility, grant managements as well as advisory services.

Find out more at www.bdf.rw or contact us at info@bdf.rw.

About Proxtera

Proxtera is creating the global open digital ecosystem of MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) with trusted credentials that help them gain access to trade opportunities and financial services for greater growth.

Proxtera’s mission is to transform business-to-business trade using technology to make marketplaces efficient and discoverable globally and to enable holistic cross-marketplace and cross-border trade leveraging trusted credentials to improve financing, fulfilment and empowerment.

Proxtera was launched at the end of 2020 as the operationalisation of the Business sans Borders (BSB) initiative by MAS and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). BSB seeks to develop a collaborative global digital infrastructure that would help to increase cross-border trade opportunities and enhance digital and financial inclusivity for MSMEs in the underserved global B2B e-commerce market space.

Find out more at https://proxtera.com or email us at contact@proxtera.com.

For media queries, please contact:

Doreen Makumi
Director Communication

John Kagarama
Head, Business Development and Advisory Services
Business Development Fund Limited

Bridgitte Lee
Deputy Director (Communications)
Monetary Authority of Singapore

Diya Malaney
Marketing & Communications

1 Proxtera is a digital platform that aims to facilitate cross border trade connectivity among emerging market SMEs.

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