Incofin just sold its 28% equity stake that its Rural Impulse Fund (RIF II) had in Unguka Bank to LOC Holdings, one of the leading global financial platforms for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs).
RIF II sold its entire 28% participation in Unguka Bank in Rwanda. Since its investment in 2012, RIF II has helped the company more than double its total assets from USD 14 million to USD 29 million, growing into the largest microfinance bank in Rwanda, serving 1,685 clients.
Geert Peetermans, Co-CEO of Incofin commented: “From the time we entered over a decade ago as first foreign institutional investor in the then early-stage microfinance bank Unguka, its team has consistently built out tailored services and deepened outreach among Rwanda’s rural MSMEs. We are today passing on the baton to a new strategic investor, with confidence that Unguka Bank and its spirited team have a great future ahead offering responsible financial services.”
In addition to financing, Incofin has provided technical assistance to the bank to develop an agricultural lending strategy, related products and methodologies as well as to migrate to a new, more efficient core banking management system. This was in line with the RIF II-mission to promote socio-economic development in rural areas.
Besides its lending activities (for purposes such as job creation, housing and agricultural development), Unguka Bank has made significant contributions to social protection. Through an annual budget allocation, the bank for example supports vulnerable populations by covering school fees for children and constructing shelters.
Reflecting on the journey with Incofin, Justin Kagishiro, CEO of Unguka Bank, said: “Unguka Bank is grateful to RIF II for the exciting journey we have been on together since 2012 and for the impact we have made on our customers. We see Incofin not only as a financial investor but also as a trusted partner to extend our reach.”
Commenting on the significance of the investment in Unguka Bank, Deputy Chairman of LOLC Holdings Ishara Nanayakkara said: “The African region possesses immense growth potential, characterized by higher GDP growth. Leveraging on our position as a leading global player in the MSME market, we are eager to address the requirements of this population segment and empower them to enhance their standard of living. By implementing our successful MSME model within Unguka Bank, we aim to offer accessible financial products and services that effectively meet the diverse financial needs of entrepreneurs. As LOLC remains committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we actively contribute to economic development as a responsible lender, promoting financial inclusion while upholding robust client protection principles.”
About Rural Impulse Fund II
Rural Impulse Fund II is a EUR 120 million (USD 173 million) fund that was launched in 2010. The fund aims to contribute to the alleviation of poverty in rural areas by investing in microfinance institutions that have a strong presence in these rural regions.
The LOLC Group is one of the most strategically diversified financial services conglomerates with presence in 23 countries across Asia, Africa and Australia. This extensive coverage enables LOLC to reach a population of over 1.3 billion globally, effectively catering to the needs of the underserved populations in each of its markets. LOLC is engaged in financial services, leisure, plantations, construction, mining, manufacturing and trading, digital empowerment, research & innovation and other strategic investments. As a leading player in the international MSME sector, the Group has been a catalyst in facilitating financial inclusion, whilst striving to maximise environmental benefits through green operations and processes, in line with its triple bottom line focus.
About Unguka Bank
Unguka Bank Plc (www.ungukabank.com) is a Microfinance Bank which started as a Microfinance Institution and licenced by National Bank of Rwanda since 2005. Unguka Bank is licenced to take deposits from clients and grant loans, as well as other related financial services. Its 14 branches and 1 outlet are opened in the Capital City of Kigali and other 3 Provinces (North, South and West) of Rwanda; it is yet to open a Branch in Eastern Province. The Bank has been serving the population, both in rural and urban areas, women and men, as well as MSMEs operating in various economic sectors.