The New Times (Kigali)

13 June 2008

Rwanda: Dutch Bank Invests FRW6.5 Billion Into BPR

KigaliNyarugenge — RABO Bank, a Netherlands-based bank through its subsidiary RABO Financial Investment Development (RFID), has invested Frw5.5 billion in Banques Populaire Du Rwanda (BPR).

The money includes Frw5b as share capital, and 534 million in capacity building and as part of the investor's contribution to the acquisition of a 35 percent stake in BPR.

This was revealed yesterday during a ceremony at Jali Club to sign the transformation of BPR into a fully fledged commercial bank.

The agreement indicates that another 4.155m Euros (approx. Frw1.15bn) will go into technical support that will be provided by Rabo Bank International Advisory Services (RIAS).

The Dutch government financed 65 percent, and 35 percent of the technical assistance was provided by the RIAS.

The Governor of the Central Bank, Francois Kanimba who signed the technical assistance agreement on behalf of the government, said the transformation of Union des Banques Populaire (UBPR) to BPR as a commercial bank suits well the government's policy of the financial sector reform.

"This is a great achievement in the financial sector transformation and I am confident that the partner will bring in new innovations in terms of quality services and professionalism," said Kanimba.

Arnold Kuijpers, who represented Rabo Bank, said the bank will share expertise and experience with BPR.

"We don't intend to bring services from Netherlands to Rwanda because of the difference in cultures where some cannot be applicable here; but a consultant will come to study which new products are needed," said Kuijpers.

"With our expertise I am confident far more customers will be attracted and far more products will be introduced," he added.

Kuijpers said that with an experience of 110 years in business, Rabo Bank ranks as the 23rd best bank in the world, with an AAA rating.

Bernard Itangishaka, the Managing Director of BPR, hailed the partnership, expressing optimism that the comprehensive training will help the bank become a leading retail bank in the country.

Among the new products intended to be launched soon include loans to agro-business projects, the national one-cow-one-family initiative and future savings.

Bank Populaire started its operations in 1975 as a cooperative, and in 1986 it changed to UBPR. Currently it has 140 branches across the country and more than 700,000 clients.

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