Czech Republic Investors Eye Rwanda

A group of investors from the Czech Republic are set to invest in a range of businesses in the country.

The 30-member delegation led by Jan Kohout, the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, was in the country last week as they explored potential areas of investment in the country.

During their visit, the group visited Rwanda Development Board (RDB) where they were assured of an enabling business environment in Rwanda.

The group, which also had a business meeting last Tuesday with several government officials and the Rwanda business community, is interested in investing in the a variety of areas, including: agriculture, services, manufacturing, energy, import and export promotion, and aviation.

“We have chosen Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Ghana as our economic missions in Africa and I am optimistic that our business community will find various investment opportunities in these countries,” said Kohout in the meeting.

He added that the objective of coming to explore potential areas of investment in the country is due to the fact that Rwanda offers potential business opportunities since the country has continued to perform well in World Bank ‘Doing Business’ reports.

Borivoj Minar, a member of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, said that although it was their first time in Rwanda, they have developed a strong feeling of establishing businesses in Rwanda after holding meetings with government officials about various business opportunities.

“We are looking forward to partner with Rwanda towards promoting trade, innovation and entrepreneurship between the two countries,” Minar said.

RDB Chief Operations Officer (COO), Claire Akamanzi, said that Czech investors are looking to African markets where growth is high, and Rwanda was chosen as one of their destinations.

“Many countries are choosing our country as a potential area of investment and this shows that Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies on the continent. We are happy about that and ready to offer them a conducive environment that will enable them to efficiently and effectively do their respective businesses in Rwanda,” Akamanzi said.

She said that RDB will continue working together with the Czech chamber of commerce in order allow many investors from the Czech Republic to come and invest in Rwanda.

“Although we haven’t done much with Czech Republic in terms of investments, the coming of such investors shows the beginning of their business journey with Rwanda,” Akamanzi said.

The group also toured Kigali Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) which the government put aside as place for industrial zone for the national and foreign investors.

Statistics indicate that RDB registered investments worth $1.2 billion (about Frw 800 billion) between January and June this year.

The investments represent 58 domestic projects, worth $ 509.1 million, 22 foreign projects, worth $406.9m, and nine joint ventures worth $338.1 million.

While talking to the visiting delegation, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba said: “Our economy has responded considerably well to business reforms, we have grown at an average rate of about 8 per cent over the last decade and we welcome you to Rwanda to explore areas of your business interests,”

According to 2013 Baseline Profitability Index by the Foreign Policy Magazine, Rwanda was ranked fifth-best destination for investment in the world out of 102 countries surveyed. The global study indicated that high returns of investment are accessible and to a great degree, retrievable to investors in Rwanda.

The 2013World Bank Doing Business Report also ranked Rwanda the third easiest place to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Mauritius and South Africa.

Rwanda to issue $400 million debut Eurobond : IMF

KIGALI, April 16 (Reuters) – Rwanda will issue a debut $400 million debut Eurobond in the days ahead to raise funds for the retirement of short-term debt and complete strategic investments, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday.

Investors have lapped up sovereign bonds by African countries in recent years, thanks to fairly attractive yields and robust economic growth prospects at a time European economies struggle to shake off a persistent debt crisis.

Rwanda will be the first country in east Africa to issue a Eurobond. Kenya planned to borrow from the international market but postponed it repeatedly due to worries over the prospects of violence in polls held last month.

Officials in Nairobi say the government will issue the $1 billion bond this year after the election passed peacefully in contrast with last election five years ago that resulted in deadly post-election violence.

Rwanda had initially indicated that it would borrow $350 million.

The country’s ministry of finance confirmed on Twitter that it had mandated BNP Paribas and Citi to arrange the issue, with road shows set to start on April 18.

Fitch Ratings assigned the issue ‘B(EXP)’ rating in line with the country’s ‘B’ Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default rating with a stable outlook.

“Rwanda’s rating is supported by solid economic policies and a track record of structural reforms, macroeconomic stability and low government debt,” the ratings agency said.

“Rwanda will continue to attract significant budget support flows, reflecting its strong track record in poverty reduction and control of corruption.”

The country had a debt to GDP ratio of 23.3 percent last year, Fitch said. The IMF said in a statement it expected the economy to expand 7.5 percent this year, barely changed from its previous forecast of 7.6 percent.

Akagera Park Gets New Facilities

Akagera Park management launched a new Day Visitor Centre complete with a tented boarding facility. Launched on Tuesday, the new 14-bed Rusizi Tented Lodge is located right at the heart of the Akagera National Park.

The accommodation facility will supplement the Akagera Game Lodge, the main hotel inside the Eastern Province-based park. The centre, on the other hand, incorporates the park reception, a café souvenir shop and education centre. The infrastructure was set up with financial support of the US based Walton Family Foundation.

The Foundation has disbursed $500,000 per annum, from 2010, to finance the construction of the facilities under a five-year financial assistance programme that will total $2.5 million upon completion.

Rob Walton, the chairman of the foundation, and his wife, Melani Walton, attended the ceremony. Walton Family Foundation is a philanthropic organisation with a strong focus on conservation and biodiversity protection.

According to the park’s officials, the new infrastructure is part of an integrated tourism development plan aimed at increasing revenues for the park’s long-term sustainability. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, who presided over the function, said new infrastructure was an important step towards the park’s achievement of self-reliance.

“The Park has been performing well in the last three years or so…we expect it to do more, so that it can stop relying on aid. I also commend the support of Walton Foundation; local investors should borrow a leaf,” he said.

Kanimba noted that revenue from the industry is progressively increasing. “Tourism will remain number one for many years. It earns the country over $280m per year. This explains why we are committed to supporting the industry,” said Kanimba.

Jes Gruner, the Manager of Akagera Park, the largest in the country, noted that proper management and infrastructure development drastically increased the number of tourists. “In 2011, we had 20,000 tourists. In 2012 they increased to 23,000. The park has seen 40 per cent increase in visitor numbers and 73 per cent increase in revenue over the last three years,” he said.

Akagera Park, African Parks and Rwanda Development Board partnered to form the Akagera Management Company (AMC). This is a 20-year joint management agreement with a vision to restore, develop and manage the park to international standards.

Rica Rwigamba, Head of Rwanda Tourism and Conservation, RDB, said that tourism industry would increase its revenue by a large margin at the end of the year 2014. “We want our revenues to increase to $317million by next year,” she said.

Akagera National Park was founded in 1934.

Bank of Kigali Total Assets Grew By 47.4%

The Bank of Kigali (BK) Board of Directors announced the 2011 full year financial highlights.

The announcement was made today at Serena Hotel,Kigali saying that the bank’s net income of 2011 full year financial highlights comes up to 8.2 billion Rwandese Francs (us$13.6 million) A total of 33% increase since 2011.

BK’s total assets grew by 47.4% making it a total of 291.3 billion Rwandese francs at the end of December 2011.

BK has for over the last three years maintained its credit rating becoming the second domestic company to be listed in the Rwandan stock exchange.

Since 2009 its recognition has only grown in stature, its recognitions shown through it awards ranging from, “Best Bank in Rwanda” by Emeafinance and the Bank of the year award by the Banker in 2011.

The BK board of directors has formulated recommendation on the dividend policy in accordance with the law, as well as for the preparation of the AGM, where the AGM will adopt the dividend policy calling for the payout of 50% of the banks audited IFRS-based income of 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Under tax law in Rwanda, dividends paid on ordinary shares which are listed on the Rwandan stock exchange are subject to withholding tax of 5 % for resident taxpayers of Rwanda and the East African community.

The forward looking statements and future expectations include but are not limited to; the general market, technological developments, competitive pressures, macroeconomic government policies, financial and credit worthiness of their customers as well as many other contributing factors.

The date set for the AGM formally known as the Annual General Meeting will be held on the 27th of April 2012 which also coincides with the investor’s day.

Some of the banks management’s key targets for 2012will be; return on average equity, total assets growth, gross loans by 2012 and its new branches that will be opened in 2012.

With the increase in the percentage since 2011, the banks key targets will be used in order to ensure it maintains profitable growth while still maintaining its’ leading position in the Rwandan market.

The presentation team consisted of the managing manager James Gatera and the chief operation officer Lawson Naibo made it clear that their presentation contains statements from the unaudited IFRS financial highlights of 2011 that constitute and relate to the implementation of strategic initiatives as well as the banks financial performance as well as its business developments.

Gatera stated “ we are pleased to have been able to create shareholder value of over 6,000 shareholder by generating earnings per share of 12.29 Rwandese francs in 2011”, “ we relish the challenge of achieving the key management targets set for 2012 by the board of directors.

Lado Gurgenidze, chairman finished by saying “Having completed the budget planning cycle for 2012, we look forward to continued success of the management team in delivering profitable growth”.

The bank which had opened over 11 new branches in 2011 now has 12 branches.

Rwanda: Kenya bank to be locally managed


Dr. James N. MwangiDr. James N. Mwangi

Equity Bank Rwanda will be driven and ran by Rwandans, according to the Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Equity Bank, Dr. James N. Mwangi.

He told the media yesterday, shortly after paying a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame, that the bank targets to create employment opportunities for Rwandans with the required skills.

A delegation of the Kenyan-based bank visited the Head of State at Village Urugwiro to brief him on the progress made since their entry into the Rwandan market three months ago.

“We have already created jobs for 178 Rwandans and we want Equity Bank Rwanda to be run by Rwandans who are trained and developed to take the bank to greater heights,” he asserted.

Mwangi observed that the financial institution has so far registered 30,000 customers since October last year and opened seven branches with three more to be opened in March.

“Equity bank intends to develop new financial products linked to rural banking and we want to partner with Umurenge Sacco as our banking agents to enable them become viable financial institutions,” he revealed.

The CEO mentioned that, his bank specialises in community based model which maximises banking services to the traditionally unbanked segment of the population.

Equity Bank Group has a total value base of US$2 billion; it has other branches in Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania.

“We have already invested US$12 million in Rwanda in terms of initial capital, but we will push as much money as possible,” he pointed out.

Mwangi said tht the bank would boost lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through a new approach known as agency banking, a postal outlet contracted by a financial institution to process clients’ transactions.

They have installed electronic banking services that include 11 Automated Teller Machines and 200 points of sale.

According to Claver Gatete, the Governor of National Bank of Rwanda, Equity Bank comes with great technological initiatives that would almost reach everyone in the entire country.

“This bank really comes to add value to our banking system, and what were lacking are the extra resources, especially the bank’s long term lending basis. For instance, the bank lends across the board from big companies, SME’s and to very small micro finance institutions, which promotes economic development of our country,” he explained.

Gatete stated that the use of technology in the banking system, such as ATMs, mobile banking and points of sale, keeps money in the banking system that thereby increases lending to the population.

By Frank Kanyesigye, The New Times

How did Rwanda cut poverty so much?




The small African nation of Rwanda recently announced that it had cut poverty by 12% in six years, from 57% of its population to 45%. That equals roughly a million Rwandans emerging from poverty — one of the most stunning drops in the world.

It’s a remarkable achievement for Rwanda, which has emerged from civil war and a bloody ethnic genocide in the 1990s. How did it happen? The Times quizzed Paul Collier, director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, about the  numbers.

Are there any doubts that the drop is real?

No doubts; I know the economics professor who did the data analysis, and he is highly experienced and painstaking, so it is genuine.

How did Rwanda cut its poverty so much?

There were one or two helpful events, notably the rise in world coffee prices, which pumped money into the rural economy, but, of course, overall the global economy since 2005 has not provided an easy environment for success. Hence, most of the achievement is likely due to domestic policies.

Rwanda is the nearest that Africa gets to an East Asian-style “developmental state,” where the government gets serious about trying to grow the economy and where the president runs a tight ship within government built on performance rather than patronage.

There were strong supporting policies for the rural poor — the “one cow” program [that distributed cows to poor households free of charge], which spread assets, and the improvements in health programs.

Alongside this, the economy was well managed, with inflation kept low, and the business environment improved, both of which helped the main city, Kigale, to grow. Growth in Kigale then spread benefits to rural areas — the most successful rural districts were those closest to Kigale.

When you say well managed, what do you mean? What choices did the government make that were signs of good management?

Basically, [President Paul] Kagame built a culture of performance at the top of the civil service. Ministers were well paid, but set targets. If they missed the targets there were consequences. Each year, the government holds a whole-of-government retreat where these performances are reviewed: good performance rewarded, and poor performers required to explain themselves.

An example is the strategy to improve Rwanda’s rating on the World Bank’s “Doing Business” annual rating, where over the course of six years the country moved from around 140th to 60th in the world rankings. Each component of the ratings was assigned each year to an appropriate minister. So over time, a cadre of government officials has been built up who believe in their ability not just to strategize but to get things done.

What changes can you see now in Rwanda?

Some changes are obvious to the eye — houses that now have tin roofs instead of thatch. Thatch may look prettier, but the world over, a decent roof is one of the first changes people make when they start the ascent out of poverty. Some of the changes are psychological — a sense that things really can improve, and a sense that individual families can do something about their circumstances.

What can other countries learn from Rwanda — or is its story so unique that it can’t be copied?

They can learn a lot. If Rwanda can do this well, with all its disadvantages — landlocked, legacy of conflict, no natural resources — other African countries should be able to do even better.

Do you think Rwanda can continue to reduce poverty at the same rate in the coming years?

The government has now set its sights on getting the country to middle-income levels. This will require a change in the growth strategy. So far, growth has come primarily from doing better the things that Rwanda is doing already. To reach middle income, new activities will need to be introduced and the economy diversified. Rwanda needs pioneer investors and aid to support them with public infrastructure; I hope that it gets them. If it does, then, yes, poverty can continue to fall fast.

Bank of Kigali Gets Credit Line From African Development Bank


Rodrigue Rwirahira

17 November 2011

Bank of Kigali- Rwanda

The African Development Bank and Bank of Kigali have signed a US$ 12 million line of credit with a US$ 500,000 grant agreement for technical assistance in support of SMEs.

The credit line agreement provides a 10-year US$ 12 million of credit to the bank with a two-year grace period.

“Rwanda has witnessed tremendous economic growth with an average real GDP growth of around 8% over the last 5 years,” said the AfDB resident representative, Negatu. “Considering the growth of investment in SMEs, and the fact that they are critical in job creation and catalytists for growth, we find it very important for this support to be directed to the efforts of SMEs to develop further.”

Claver Gatete, the governor of the National Bank, believes that banks need more investment to support national economic growth. “Such kind of financial support which comes in foreign currencies even help to stabilize our own currency; we call more support to facilitate our financial strategic plans because we can donors a well-designed framework, confidence and experience in managing our financial trends,” the governor explained.

In addition, BK’s managing director James Gatera said that given the bank’s strategic plan it is well shielded against inflation or other external influences. “I am pleased that the bank is once again able to secure wholesale funding at competitive rates. The credit line will enhance our ability in increasing financial services in Rwanda,” he said. “In addition, capacity building remains a critical issue in the industry and the grant will advance the capabilities of our staff and systems, thus improving service delivery.”

He added that with AfDB’s combination of financial credit and technical assistance, BK is expected to grow its corporate, SME and Micro-SME client base from 4,802 to 26,000 by 2017; and an increment of the micro- and SMEs share to 77%. In addition, the number of loan customers is expected to rise from 3,018 today to at least 5000 by 2017, which should constitute at least 70% of MSMEs growth.

And according to AfDB’s Makonnen, the credit line is expected to see more than 2000 jobs being generated in the sub-projects and to see a 60% approximate of additional jobs created with the skilled workers. Moreover, the income of the beneficiary companies should rise by at least 10%.