Boosting financial and business literacy in Rwanda


Participants at the Kigali Serena during the FinBiz luncheon for Women Professional and Business Executives. Photos: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women Rwanda

Kigali– Over 200 executive women from government, private enterprises, and international organizations took part in a two-hour financial planning and business investment seminar dubbed “Finishing Rich”, the first in a series of luncheon-events supported by the Rwanda Development Board, UN Women and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The event in March aimed to expose career women to guidance on prudent financial management and trigger a mindset shift towards managing personal finances and interest in personal growth, finance and investment.

New Faces New Voices (NFNV) Chair Person, Monique Nzansabaganwa. Photo: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women Rwanda

The host, New Faces New Voices (NFNV), is a pan-African movement, backed by the African Development Bank, advocating for women’s participation in finance through a network of national chapters. UN Women provides technical and financial support to NFNV and sits on the Board of its National Chapter. NFNV draws its membership from a large cross-section of women and focuses on access to financial services, influence in decision-making positions in financial institutions, and increased capabilities of women in finance (as savers, investors, entrepreneurs, etc.).

Diana L. Ofwona, UN Women Representative in Rwanda. Photo: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women Rwanda

Diana Ofwona, UN Women Representative in Rwanda, said: “This trailblazing event is the culmination of many months of deliberation, consultation and brainstorming on the best way to shift mindsets from microfinance initiatives to big investments in the financial and other sectors, beginning at the personal financial-management level, and on to a deeper understanding of, and engagement with, money and investments.”

The keynote speaker, Nancy Asiko Onyango, is a Partner at Ernst & Young, based in Nairobi, Kenya. She redefined the notion of “rich” as holistic well-being and abundance of wealth in mental and physical health as well as in income. It is not limited, though, to financial resources. Ms. Onyango made a convincing case for a well-planned retirement, cutting the dependency umbilical cord, revisiting social and cultural norms that disempower women financially and sounded the clarion call for all women to take control of their finances and their lives and “finish rich”.

A NFNV Rwanda Chapter will be officially launched on 10 June 2015 in Kigali, at the international conference “Transformative Financial Solutions for Women”. The two-day conference will be hosted by H.E. Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda, and former First Lady of South Africa Graça Machel, who is the Founder of New Faces New Voices.