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Extending the Outreach of Rwandan Peoples’ Banks to the Rural Poor Through Village Savings and Credit Associations

Over 65 percent of Rwanda’s rural population are poor and their principal activity is farming. Despite having the physical capacity and even the professional skills needed to undertake successful economic activities, this population completely lacks investment capital.

CARE International based in Rwanda is improving this situation through its CLASSE-Intambwe methodology, which involves mobilizing rural poor into savings and credit associations and linking them to the vast network of peoples’ banks that exist in the country. Although the ‘linking’ aspect is rather young beginning only in late 2003, initial results are encouraging. Today, all 1000 CARE supported savings and credit have savings accounts in their respective peoples’ bank, and many group members have opened personal, individual accounts, thus bringing many into the financial mainstream. This article explains the origins, mechanics and outcomes of this unique relationship.

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