Rwanda, Belgium in New Financial Sector Partnership

26 February 2021

Rwanda and Belgium are set to increase ties and cooperation in the financial sector, buoyed by an agreement between Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL) and the Belgian Finance Centre (BFC).

RFL is the agency whose responsibility is to promote and develop the Kigali International Financial Centre, an initiative that seeks to position Rwanda as a preferred financial jurisdiction for investments into Africa, as well as reform the domestic industry.

The partnership signed virtually on February 24 is aimed at laying a foundation for cooperation in promoting investment opportunities between Belgium and Rwanda.

The new partnership among other things provides for a platform for exchange, encouraging best practices and knowledge sharing in the fields of SME financing through diaspora investment and corporate governance.

Belgium and Rwanda will promote each other's work, both in Africa and globally and ultimately work together to capitalise on the momentum of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The agreement also allows mutual recognition for regulated entities also forms a core part of the agreement, and this will likely open up extensive opportunities for entities based both in Belgium and Rwanda as access to industries in both markets is made easier.

The pact also intends to facilitate the sharing of information and expertise between the two entities in order to develop effective cooperation on aspects such as organization of joint education and professional financial training programs, research and workshops, as well as publications and exchanges of business delegations.

This will also include capacity building for both parties is also a central focus, through technical assistance, staff secondment and sharing best practice and experiences in the development of a financial centre.

Nick Barigye, the Chief Executive of Rwanda Finance Limited, said that with increased relationship between the European Union and the African continent, it's ideal to enter such a pact to build on the interest in partnership.

"We are delighted to sign this partnership with the BFC. Our financial centres share many similarities, but equally, we have much to learn from each other and this partnership facilitates this, strengthening an existing understanding of the importance of working together," he said.

"The partnership covers two key themes in the context of the post-Covid-19 recovery: the financing of SMEs and corporate governance. This partnership is also a pledge of recognition of the excellent relations that unite Africa to Europe, and Rwanda to Belgium."

Bruno Colmant, Chairman of the BFC said that the cooperation between Belgium and Rwanda financial centres has the potential to promote economic growth and international cooperation.

"Both Rwanda Finance and the Belgian Finance Centre are members of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres, which demonstrates our willingness to develop mutual aid between countries. We believe that financial centres have the capacity to promote economic growth and international cooperation through their links and their technological skills,"

Jochen Biedermann, Managing Director of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres, said that international cooperation for financial centres enables the sharing experience and best practices for mutual benefit.

"WAIFC encourages closer collaboration between its members, which goes beyond the joint WAIFC projects in various areas such as Sustainable finance, FinTech, or SME finance," he said.

The new partnership is one of many the agency has entered into in recent months pursuing different aspects.

Last year, KIFC entered pacts with new partners such as CDC Group, the UK's development finance institution and impact investor, Casablanca Finance City of Morocco and Bpifrance, the French public investment bank among others.

The partnership with CDC Group and Casablanca Finance City will enable KIFC to gain and benefit from their expertise to support the ongoing development of the new financial centre.

With BPIfrance, the agreement outlines areas of cooperation to include promoting the business development of French SMEs and midcaps operating or interested in Africa by structuring through the Kigali International Financial Center.

KIFC also entered into partnership with the International Compliance Association (ICA), a leading professional body for the global regulatory and financial crime compliance community.

The partnership entered in October allows for the extension of ICA's qualifications to the entire ecosystem of companies in Rwanda to raise compliance standards and promote global best practice.

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