Kigali March 22, 2018: The Government of Rwanda and the African Development Fund (AfDB) today signed a loan agreement worth US$ 30 million (Approximately Frw 25 billion) to finance the establishment of Rwanda Innovation Fund (RIF).
The project objective is to provide equity financing for tech enabled Small and Medium-size enterprises, train tech-oriented entrepreneurs in business planning and management, and increase awareness and sensitization with respect to intellectual property rights. RIF will invest in and develop world-class innovative businesses in Rwanda and the wider East African region by providing patient institutional growth capital and deep business support.
Speaking at the signing event, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning noted that the innovation fund will be a key milestone in the development of Rwanda’s financial and technology sectors, which is in line with the country’s vision as the innovation and financial hub.
“The project is of strategic national importance to Rwanda as the country seeks to unlock its fast-growing innovation economy and promote private sector –led growth in line with Vision 2050 and the National Strategy for Transformation,” Minister Gatete noted.
“The Rwanda Innovation Fund Project is the first operation of its kind approved under the Africa Development Bank sovereign window which does not have a direct link to infrastructure project. The fund will be used to capacity building to between 7-10 incubators and accelerators, and give training to 30,000 entrepreneurs across the region,” Gabriel Negatu, AfDB Director General East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office said.
The project is expected to support more than 150 companies at various stages and invest in about 20 early growth stage opportunities. It is forecast to create more than 2,000 direct jobs and over 6,000 indirect jobs over its 10-year life cycle.
Under the Division of Labour AfDB supports Rwanda in several areas such as private sector development, transport, energy, agriculture, water and sanitation