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IFC Supports Women Entrepreneurs in Rwanda

With IFC support, former South African First Lady Graça Machel and Rwanda's First Lady Jeannette Kagame, launched 'New Faces, New Voices' Rwanda Chapter to promote opportunities and entrepreneurship in Rwanda.

New Faces New Voices is a pan-African advocacy group dedicated to the expansion of the role and influence of women in the financial sector. It was founded by Machel in 2010 in partnership with the African Development Bank and other global institutions to change the financial status of women. It is active in 15 African countries today.

IFC has provided advice and assistance in helping NFNV get off the ground in Rwanda, and held out the prospect of further supporting efforts to by the new organization. 

Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC VP for Global Client Services, lauded the effort to create a commercially sound structure at the launch in Kagali in June.  “You have the opportunity to build wealth for your members, and provide programs for women across borders to improve financial inclusion. This combination of investments and advisory services can bring great benefits to your members.” 

Under consideration by the new group is a $20 million fund aimed at support, of which local women would be supported by government resources and international investors. 

“New Faces, New Voices targets to lift one million women out of poverty in the next five years. Each woman must have space and a voice to seek and find transformative financial solutions," Kagame said at the launch.

New Faces, New Voices that actively engages key stakeholders in the financial sector in order to promote increasing women's access to finance and a variety of financial products, build the capacity and skills of women entrepreneurs, and spur the number of women in leadership positions in the financial sector.

"What is happening in Rwanda should be emulated by other countries. What Rwanda has achieved is profound achievement, rebuilding from ashes,” said Machel.