The membership of Kigali International Finance Centre grew further this week as continental finance players expressed interest in setting up operations in the regional financial hub.
During a panel session at the ongoing Commonwealth Business Forum, dubbed,‘Transforming Rwanda into a Pan-African financial hub: the KIFC journey’, two continental players announced their debut.
Chipper Cash, a Jeff Bezos funded innovative Fintech Company which facilitates cross-border payment, announced that they had since acquired an E-Money Issuer license, which will see them facilitate money transfers in Rwanda and abroad.
Pardon Mujakachi, Vice President Strategy and Partnerships at Chipper Cash, said that, by working with Rwanda Finance Limited, they had met all regulatory requirements allowing them to commence operation locally.
He said that the firm’s commitment to the local ecosystem was informed by the country’s quest to develop into an innovation and financial hub.
Mujakachi said that, by strengthening their presence in Rwanda, they are keen to leverage financial services serving Rwanda and other African markets seamlessly.
Fadilah Tchoumba, the Secretary-General of African Business Angel Network – ABAN, said that they are currently working out details to create a structure to create investment in Central and West Africa domiciled in KIFC.
This would allow venture capitalists and Angel Investors from across the continent to easily fund start-ups across the region through KIFC.
Owen Ruwodo, the founder of Arigo Investments, also noted that they were looking to launch a pan-African fund domiciled in Kigali International Financial Centre investing in start-ups across the continent.
Nick O’Donohoe, the Chief Executive of British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, backed by the UK Government, noted that since its debut two years ago, KIFC has fast become renowned as a hub to reckon with.
Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said that the KIFC has a key role in Rwanda’s ambitious programme of economic reform, by enabling the country’s transition to a financial services hub for pan-African investment.
He said that Rwanda’s economy and financial services sector has grown significantly in recent years, and has ambitions to increase the financial sector’s contribution to GDP to at least 5.2% by 2035.
The premier said that KIFC is a key component of this in attracting regional and international investors. Through the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), he said, Rwanda will stimulate demand for financial services and provide increased employment opportunities for the Rwandan people, especially the youth.
“With the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), Rwanda is seeking to establish and build not only a world-leading financial centre, but to strengthen the profile and reputation of the country as an outward looking, global financial destination with a reliably pro-business environment and a catalyst for Pan-African investment, growth and development,” he said.
KIFC continues to attract a number of investors and members ranging from social impact investors, angel investors and investment companies to financial services providers and Corporate Services Providers.
Other members of the KIFC include; Bank of Kigali, Flutter Wave, Admaius Capital, JurisTax, Chancen International Rwanda, Chipper Cash, Aktif Bank, Matha Capital, Mettle Limited, BK Capital Limited, Q-lana, Ethos Attorneys and Consultants.
Others are; K-Solutions & Partners, Fountain Advocates, Liedekerke, NCBA Bank, Ecobank, CVL, Garnett Partners, Luma Holding, Inkomoko, Mobile Money, PanAfrican Finance Limited, RR Associates, and Co Advocates.
In 2021, the centre was ranked 5th in Africa on the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), a renowned ranking on the competitiveness of financial centres across the world, and ranked among the top 15 centres globally likely to become more significant going forward as well as among centres enjoying reputational advantage.