Rebuilding Rwanda- Our Kiva Entrepreneur for April
Browsing our portfolio of borrowers on Kiva.org, the site we use to make our monthly ‘loans that change lives’, we were delighted to see that last month’s recipient Jeremie from Burundi was not only fully funded but has already repaid 25% of his $4,975 loan. This is brilliant news!
Continuing our commitment to lend to areas, industries and activities we have not yet invested in, this month’s entrepreneur is Anastasie from Rwanda.
She is seeking a loan of $4,425 in order to buy construction materials such as nails, water pipes and electrical installation materials, which she sells alongside her husband’s timber business.
Anastasie stood out for many reasons. It was her contribution to not only literal building but the rebuilding of the Rwandan economy following the country’s devastating genocide that struck a particular chord with us though.
The country has endured a lengthy struggle with the resulting ethnic tension, but has achieved a remarkable growth in GDP and reduction in poverty during recent years, and in 2014 ranked fourth worldwide for percentage GDP increase.
According to the IMF, Rwanda’s growth has been driven in great part by an increase in construction-related business. There is still a long way to go, however, with 57% of the population living below the poverty line and 37% in ‘extreme poverty.’ (Source: The Borgen Project)
Anastasie’s work is playing a vital role in the much-needed regeneration of her country.
Women are chronically under-represented in construction across almost all regions; this is particularly pronounced in Africa.
According to Build Radar, the building industry’s specialist search portal, Africa makes up only 3% of the world’s female construction workforce- the lowest of all.
With strong female role models, however, there is hope that this figure will improve in coming generations.
Rwanda has already made some exceptional progress in redressing gender imbalance, particularly in its political system, where well over half of parliamentarians are women.
Anastasie’s work directly contributes to gender equality in her country.
Any profit Anastasie generates has already been earmarked for a project of her own- she wants to build a house for herself, her husband and their 7 children.
Her construction business will itself be funding further construction, feeding back into the fast growing industry that is fueling progress in her country.
We wish Anastasie all the luck in the world achieving her goals- if you feel similarily inspired to contribute, you can do so here.
P.S- We owe a hat-tip to the excellent World Economic Forum for furnishing us with much of the information on Rwanda’s economic climate used in this post.
About the Author: Alice Perry
Alice is Inkspiller’s project manager. She oversees all that we do, and thinks there is no task that can’t be improved by the making of a bulleted list.