BUJUMBURA November 2nd (ABP) – At the end of the 2018 financial year, 177,830,000,000 BIF was deposited in deposit accounts of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) grouped within the Network of Microfinance Institutions (RIM).

This was declared on Thursday October 31 by Mr. Bernard Kinyata, Chairman of the Board of Directors of RIM, during a news conference he held on the occasion of the celebration of the International Savings Day.

That day was celebrated on October 31 at the initiative of RIM Burundi, in collaboration with the German Foundation of Savings Banks for International Cooperation (SBFIC).

He said that since 2012, the beginning of the celebration of that day in Burundi, during mobilization campaigns for the opening of accounts, the deposit accounts have steadily increased.

In 2012, they were135 in number, while in 2014 they were 1311. Two years later (2016), those accounts numbered 3963 and in 2017 they numbered 7716.

At the end of 2018, those deposit accounts were estimated at 13,254. According to him, these figures show that there is a significant impact on people in savings.

“Despite this development, the level of savings remains low in Burundi,” he said. For him, the aim of such mobilization campaigns is to “make one more step for financial education, the mobilization of savings, the strengthening of the culture of savings …”

Compared to the request by the President of the Republic to lower interest rates on loans, Mr. Kinyata explained that this measure is reserved for the so-called priority sectors. These sectors will benefit from the so-called special resources mobilized by the government. He felt that it is a very good thing to introduce this measure of softening interest rates for these sectors because it will significantly increase production.

Regarding the issue of the establishment of MFIs in the interior of the country, Mr. Kinyata explained that this establishment is handicapped by a number of conditions that are not met, including access to communications and electricity as well as the possibility of being able to obtain funds.

He indicated that the barrier is being removed as a result of new information technologies facilitated by fiber optics in all provinces. These facilities are offered by the mobile phone.

Currently, he explained, a project started to be carried out by the company “B-Switch”, to promote interoperability within the financial system and large-scale users of mobile telephone-based financial services. This allows “to offer local financial services and reach our customers in all communes, zones and villages,” concluded Mr. Kinyata.

After that news conference, a visit was made to nine microfinance institutions, among those present in Bujumbura City Council.

Of the 37 microfinance institutions, 35 are members of RIM in Burundi. The theme of that International Savings Day is “save for tomorrow”.

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