A top South African firm, RH Bophelo Limited is set to cross-list on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE).
This is the first cross-listing on the local bourse by a company incorporated and listed outside the East African region. The company is primarily listed on the South African bourse.
Cross-listing means trading of a company's common shares on a different exchange from its primary and original stock exchange.
RH Bophelo which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is an investment company investing in healthcare.
The cross-listing which takes effect Monday June 1, has since received approval from the Capital Market Authority bringing the number of companies on the Rwandan stock market to 9.
The cross-listing at the RSE serves as a way of introduction and not with the intention to raise capital on the local stock market on the day of the Listing.
The development follows the institution of Kigali International Financial Centre, a government project that is looking to reform Rwanda's financial services sector to attract such development.
The centre which is overseen by a newly formed government agency, Rwanda Finance Limited serves to develop and promote Rwanda as a financial services hub which includes the creation of awareness of opportunities.
RH Buphelo's managers said that by listing on the RSE, they are seeking to diversify their investor base by availing their shares to the wider East African public.
Dean Demario a manager at the firm said that Rwanda stood out as an ideal location as it offers the firm exposure being in the East African region
"Kigali offers RH Bophelo the exposure that comes with Rwanda being at the epicentre of East Africa, and a leader on the African continent. Rwanda proves to be a jurisdiction in which RH Bophelo can unlock capital and the RSE Listing will facilitate this as well as acting as an initial springboard into the rest of Africa, starting with East Africa," he said.
Demario said that the cross-listing process validated the ease of doing business reputation of Rwanda adding that it is the start of a mutually beneficial relationship between the two parties.
"The ease of doing business and the efficiency with which the whole transaction was executed was remarkable. Rwanda possesses progressive regulations and is an attractive place to do business," he added.
Nick Barigye the Chief Executive of Rwanda Finance Limited which oversees the Kigali International Financial Centre said that the development is a result of efforts by the agency pitching to global firms to consider cross-listing on the RSE.
"As such, RFL role as regards RH Bophelo started with pitching to them to cross-list on RSE and then introducing them to the relevant stakeholders such as RDB, CMA and RSE. This involved coordinating meeting with relevant stakeholders and responding to inquires from RH Buphelo and providing them the required information," he said.
While this is not the first cross-listing the country has seen as there are a number of Kenyan firms trading on RSE, KIFC's existence promotes such investment opportunities within Rwanda's financial sector
"On the technical discussions, we also believe that RH Bopello was convinced that the foreseen tax regime under KIFC is conducive for investment through Rwanda stock exchange," he added.
The continued awareness on the existence of Kigali International Finance Centre and its suitability for industry development he said has been built through constant meetings and discussions with stakeholders.
"In Rwanda, the implementation of KIFC is through project is a governance structure enabling all local stakeholders (regulators, industry participants, and other public and private institutions) to be active contributors and informed parties on the progress of KIFC. Key stakeholders outside Rwanda are also receiving regular updates on the project through our marketing and business development team," he said.
The promotion of KIFC is overseen by a team of professionals from diverse backgrounds trained in Africa, Europe, America and Asia with skillsets in legal, communication, finance, corporate management, investment and experience in both the public and private sector.
Despite the covid19 pandemic, Barigye said that their key objective for 2020 remains to launch KIFC with an amended policy framework attractive and competitive to new tenants KIFC that will support the local economy.
"We do believe that KIFC has a role to play in the country's fight against the economic impact of this pandemic," he said.
Eric Bundugu, Acting Executive Director of the Capital Market Authority said that the cross-listing of RH Bophelo on the local stock market is milestone in positioning Rwanda as an entryway for regional and international capital flows by developing a creative and diverse set of products that encourage investor confidence in issued products.
He added that though the cross-listing is not intended to raise capital, RH Bophelo has confirmed that a specific capital raise targeting local, regional and foreign investors will follow in the near future.