The IFC, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank Group, has disbursed US$3.6mn to Intraspeed, a Rwanda-based freight forwarding company serving the Great Lakes Region of Eastern Africa. This disbursement is part of a US$7.5mn IFC loan financing approved late last year and is IFC’s first investment in Rwanda since 1992.

Intraspeed will use IFC financing to upgrade, modernise, and expand its existing freight hauling capabilities with new, fuel-efficient trucks. This expansion will enable the company to become a full-service logistics firm with customs clearing and transport services and improve the handling and transportation of cargo throughout eastern Africa.

Owned and chaired by Rwandan businessman John Bosco Rusagara, Intraspeed was founded in 1995 and has become one of the region’s premier freight transport companies.

The company provides customs clearing and forwarding services from the ports of Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), as well as road haulage services from these ports to destinations across eastern Africa.

Once completed, the expanded fleet will be used throughout the entire network, but mainly on the Kenya-Uganda-Rwanda route where the business demand is greatest.

Thierry Tanoh, IFC’s director for Sub-Saharan Africa, remarks that “IFC is delighted to work together with local entrepreneurs to bring world-class practices to small and medium-sized companies, as part of our commitment to the Eastern Africa region. By supporting Intraspeed’s expansion, we are strengthening regional integration, particularly in infrastructure and transportation.”

“By reducing transportation costs and overcoming the current shortage of hauling capacity, the increased trucking capacity that will result from the successful completion of this project will help to improve trade conditions in the region,” adds Rashad Kaldany, IFC’s director for infrastructure.

IFC has recently increased its presence in Rwanda by setting up a Rwanda Leasing Program, which will help to establish leasing as a competitive and viable financial product line for local businesses.