Media Releases
Published Date: 28 June 2023

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

Kigali, 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 LtdProxtera is a digital platform that aims to facilitate cross border trade connectivity among emerging market SMEs., 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, NBR, 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.” 

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