Rwanda: Inside New Rwanda, Qatar Financial Services Agreement

16 September 2021

Rwanda and Qatar are set to benefit from mutual recognition agreements for new business opportunities in both markets following a new agreement between Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL).

The two institutions last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at facilitating different initiatives that will promote the international development of both QFC and Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC).

Kigali International Financial Centre, an initiative by the Government, seeks to position Rwanda as a business and financial services hub in Africa as well as reforming the financial services.

The MoU was signed by Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer of QFC, and Nick Barigye, Chief Executive Officer of RFL on September 9 in Doha, Qatar.

Among the outlined areas of cooperation include promoting capacity building and skills development through training programmes, knowledge transfer, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the financial landscape.

It will also facilitate the creation of a community between the fintech ecosystems of Qatar and Rwanda and initiate sharing of best practices for the development of Islamic Finance in both markets.

Rwanda has been positioning itself as a hub for Fin-tech investments through different initiatives including improvements of talent landscape, ease of registering a business, innovation, friendly regulatory ecosystem as well as access to world class accelerators, investors and venture capitalists.

Nick Barigye, Chief Executive Officer, RFL said that "this agreement will further enhance the Kigali International Financial Centre's attractiveness as a destination for investors and financial actors who want to effectively manage their wealth and structure their investments across Africa."

Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC said this MoU marks the long-term cooperation between Qatar Financial Centre and Rwanda Finance Limited to support businesses in Rwanda and Qatar through joint initiatives open doors for skills development, knowledge exchange and investment and partnership opportunities."

Adding that the deal takes QFC a step further in its efforts to forge durable partnerships with international markets that help support Qatar's economic diversification and capacity building drive.

QFC is an onshore jurisdiction that allows registered companies to enjoy competitive benefits, such as up to 100 per cent foreign ownership, 100 per cent repatriation of profits, 10 per cent corporate tax on locally sourced profits.

It also offers an extensive double taxation treaty network with over 80 countries, a legal environment based on English common law and the right to trade in any currency.

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 in regards to the financial service sector.

KIFC is made up of institutions like banks, providers of corporate services such as lawyers and accountants, private investors and family offices, financial sector regulators and the Registrar of businesses in Rwanda, among other stakeholders.

Rwanda-Qatar ties

The two countries enjoy strong collaboration which is reflected in the different economic, commercial, and technical cooperation.

And also through civil aviation as a commercial pact since 2012, with Qatar Airways, the Gulf State's flag carrier, operating direct flights to Rwanda.

Qatar is represented in Rwanda through its embassy in Kigali while Rwanda also maintains an embassy in Doha.

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