Rwanda: How Kigali's Financial Hub Will Benefit From Global Partnerships

30 September 2020

With view to keep up with global trends and provide more value to stakeholders, Kigali International Financial Centre has been building partnerships with other financial centres from across the world.

The move they, officials at the centre say, is aimed at leveraging on expertise developed by other financial centers as well as ensuring value to players at KIFC.

Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), an initiative by the Government that seeks to position Rwanda as a business and financial hub in Africa which among other things involves reforming the financial services.

Within just months since the kick-off of the initiative, KIFC has inked a number of partnership agreements with global institutions such as Morocco's Casablanca Finance City (CFC).

The MoU with Casablanca Finance City signed in May 2020 aims at promoting investment and cooperation between Morocco and Rwanda in financial services.

Antonny Mukulu Nshimye, the Chief Legal Officer at Rwanda Finance Limited, the government agency overseeing the establishment of KIFC said that cooperation with multiple actors assures results.

"An IFC is an ecosystem that brings together financial intermediaries within an international dimension. International Financial Centers function well when the different actors, including with similar centers, collaborate. KIFC cannot be the only player in the global system, we rely on collaboration with other players," he said.

Nshimye said that partnerships allow them to leverage on the expertise developed by other financial centers in areas such as fintech, green financing and fund management.

For instance, under the new partnership with Casablanca Finance City, KIFC will benefit from access to a large network of enterprises.

Saïd Ibrahimi the Chief Executive of Casablanca Finance City said that over the years, since establishment in 2010, they have built a network of over 200 leading firms.

"CFC's proven and trusted business platform that combines strong expertise from a community of members of more than 200 leading companies. Together, this business community shares common African ambitions in a wide range of sectors from banking, insurance, investments funds, assets managers, professionals' services in auditing, consulting and law... these are all aspects that KIFC will be benefiting from," he said.

From close partnership with the Morocco based entity, KIFC will also be in position to make the most of current global trends such as financing sustainable development to mitigate the effects of climate change, green finance, increasing financial inclusion among others.

For instance, CFC has already set up initiatives to attract investment flows towards green financing and are already conducting advocacy activities for international mobilization.

"The goal is to reinforce our green ecosystem alongside specialized actors, such as the Africa50 Fund or Green of Africa, and engage in a series of advocacy activities for more international mobilization on the subject to promote and intensify green investments towards the continent," Ibrahimi said.

With CFC also making advancements in new forms of access to financial services, Kigali Finance Centre could benefit from ongoing deliberations with policy makers and private actors on new models of financial services.

"By working closely with the private sector, our institutions can contribute to increasing levels of financial inclusion and progressively close the funding gap for small and medium-sized enterprises," Ibrahimi said.

The Chief Executive added that in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic consequences, Africa's financial centers ought to work together to mobilize and channel investments to finance the real economy.

"Along with governments, public authorities and business communities, financial centers serve as collaborative and supportive platforms, while also promoting international best practices and creating synergies," he added.

"If we are to attract must-needed international capital, we must develop long-term and mutually beneficial partnerships between our economies and financial centers. In parallel, we must work to gradually abandon any form of protectionism that would go against the idea of shared growth," he added.

Nshimye noted that the MoUs signed contain clear, set areas of cooperation.

"For instance most MoUs within the financial sector will tackle areas to do with technical assistance, skills development and mutual assistance in exchange of information," he said.

Nshimye said the Kigali International Financial Centre enters into cooperation agreements with countries and centres that share common aspects such as economic objectives.

"It is important to work with an IFC with which you share commonalities: such as geographical positioning or setting, similar economic objectives given that as KIFC we are looking at inward and outward investment, membership to global forums such as the Commonwealth and other international bodies, regional economic communities (RECs) as well as a good trading history and relationship," he said.

KIFC is also involved in the reform of the financial services sector.

The reforms are under three key pillars; laws and regulations within the financial service sector, the tax policy as relates to the financial sector, and skills and capacity development as relates to the financial service sector.

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