Championing Refugees Financial Inclusion in Rwanda
The UNHCR Rwanda counts around 150,000 refugees hosted by Rwanda in camps. The Mahama camp which is the largest in the country is home to over 61,000 refugees from Burundi. For many Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs), a stay in refuge could last longer than 15 years. Yet, despite a steadfast and significant participation in the socio-economic activities of their host communities through education, small scale businesses, and casual labours, access to formal financial services for refugees in Rwanda was almost inexistent until recently.
Although, it has been a long journey to introduce financial inclusion for the refugees’ population due to regulatory policies, risk management, identification, and compliance constraints in the banking sector, refugees in Rwanda are improving their lives financially and contributing to the overall development of the country.
Photo courtesy of Elisa Finocchiaro.