Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Loan Officers Signing Up Potential Clients

So last month, after a process that took over two years (don’t ask.), we finally received final approval from the Central Bank to operate as a microfinance organization in the Republic of Congo.  Since that great news, we have been scrambling to hire our additional staff, get the office fully functional, set all of our financial and operating procedures, and we have finally begun reaching out to potential clients about joining a HOPE Congo community bank and receiving a loan.

I tagged along with our Loan Supervisor and two Loan Officers this morning as they spoke to potential clients in a couple of markets in town.  It’s exciting to finally see the rubber start to meet the road.







Sunday, February 21, 2010

Three Grenade Attacks in Kigali

On Friday night, there were three simultaneous grenade attacks in Kigali.  The targets were public gathering places including a bus park near where I worked downtown.  One person was killed and at least 18 people where injured.  It is unclear who is responsible, though the FDLR has been responsible for other recent grenade attacks (including one in southern Rwanda while I was there) and there is a contentious Presidential election coming up this summer.

March 7th Update:  There have been another set of grenade attacks in and around Kigali.  It is still unclear who is responsible.  Ironically, on the day prior to the most recent attacks, President Kegame gave a press conference trying to do tamp down concerns about the attacks in the prior months and the rumors of growing politcal instability.