BY KUDZAI KUWAZA
RWANDAN financial investment hub, the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC) is courting Zimbabwe’s financial sector to take advantage of the investment opportunities in the east African country.
KIFC is a financial centre that is looking to transform Rwanda into an international financial destination for investors seeking opportunities across the African continent.
In an interview with Newsday business on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Investment and Trade Conference held in Harare last week, KIFC chief executive Nick Barigye said Zimbabwean financial institutions showed huge interest to expand their footprint into Rwanda.
“The interest was good and it is seen in the number of attendees. I believe we had close to 50 participants from Zimbabwe. A lot of questions were being asked to understand how we operate,” he said. “We are expecting post the event that we are going to have more concrete dialogue in terms of how we can see financial actors in Zimbabwe come to set up structures under KIFC. So the beginning is quite exciting, we are waiting to see more.”
Barigye said last weeks’ trade and investment conference provided a platform for KIFC to reach out to a larger sector of the country’ financial sector and build on the networks set up six months ago through ZimTrade.
“This conference has helped our drive to bring investment from Zimbabwe because six months ago ZimTrade organised the delegation from Zimbabwe to Rwanda,” he revealed: “We presented the KIFC to those who came to Rwanda and now is an opportunity to come closer to a much bigger audience and showcase to them.
“So, we could not miss the chance of building on the discussions that had occurred six months ago.
“So for now our expectation is now that we have come to them we have reached a much larger audience. We had a targeted message to the audience that we were seeking out and we are expecting to see the momentum yield.”
Barigye pointed out that the aggressive drive by the Rwandan government to lure investment has been critical to KIFC’s efforts to transform Rwanda into an international financial destination for investors seeking opportunities across the African continent.
“We have been privileged to have support across the board, from the leadership to key actors within Rwanda’s financial ecosystem, and other institutions of government. We have had that one advantage in that Rwanda as a country is renowned for its efficiency and effectiveness of governance. So if you have aspirations of setting up an international financial centre, then you need to have those key ingredients in place as our aspirations are built on the foundations that have already been laid,” he said.
KIFC is a member of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres and has entered into strategic partnerships with financial centres in countries such as Belgium, Luxemburg and Qatar. KIFC has managed to attract investments of more than US$700 million in terms of commitment over the next five-year period.
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