Rwanda just like the rest of the world today celebrated World Savings Day on Thursday October 31. The World Savings Day was commemorated for the first time in Rwanda on 31st October 2009.
The celebrations began following the Government adopting the National Savings Mobilization Strategy which proposed new ways of boosting savings and investment in Rwanda.
According to the Ministry of Finance, to ingrain a savings culture among Rwandans, a special savings week under the theme “Savings for self-reliance” has been launched, dedicated towards reminding and educating Rwandans on the importance of saving and to be responsible for their financial future in particular and the country’s economy in general.
The growth of any economy depends on capital accumulation which in turn depends on investment and an equivalent amount of savings to match it.
Speaking at the launch of the special savings week the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Claver Gatete urged Rwandans to take up the culture of saving because it is the only way they would improve their lives.
“Our savings ratio to GDP is still below acceptable levels, we need to change our mentality and embrace the savings culture,” Gatete said.
However, despite the currently low savings rates all hope is not lost because several initiatives through the National Savings Mobilization Strategy have been implemented to increase savings.
As a result, the banking sector registered an increase in deposits of 11.5 percent end of June 2013 from FRW 844.0 billion end of December 2012 to FRW 940.7 billion by end June 2013.
Umurenge Savings and Credit cooperatives (SACCOs) recorded a growth of 31.5 percent in deposits, reaching FRW 37.0 billion end June 2013 from FRW 28.2 billion end of December 2012.
With the continued implementation of this strategy, the target is to increase the level of savings in the country to a rate of 14.0 percent of GDP in 2013/14 from 10.8 percent in of 2012/13. It is projected that gross national savings as a percentage of GDP will grow by 20 percent by 2020 in order to trigger an investment rate of 30 percent of GDP.
These targets will be achieved through capital market development and other initiatives like private pension, in addition to the existing programs.
The Special savings week will involve several initiatives including awareness campaigns talk shows interviews with stakeholders and the public among others.