IFC CEO Rings Opening Bell at Rwanda Stock Exchange
On his first visit to Rwanda in July 2014; IFC CEO Jin-Yong Cai rang the opening bell on the Rwanda Stock Exchange to commemorate the Corporation's first bond denominated in Rwandan francs. Cai was joined by Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Minister of Finance; James Ndahiro, Chairman of the Rwanda’s Stock Exchange; Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Vice President for sub Saharan Africa and Ignace Bacyaha, IFC's Country Manager for Rwanda.
Issued in May 2014, the bond raised 15 billion Rwandan francs (about $22 million) from local and international investors, signaling confidence in the outlook for Rwanda’s economy. The bond marked the first placement by a nonresident issuer in Rwanda’s domestic capital markets.
The bond, dubbed “Umuganda,” will expand access to finance for local businesses, while strengthening the country’s capital markets. “Umuganda” is the local expression for coming together to achieve a shared objective.
“The Umuganda bond underscores the partnership between IFC, investors, the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, Capital Markets Authority of Rwanda” Cai said at the bell-ringing ceremony. “Through this bond, we are sending a signal to investors and issuers that they are welcome in Rwanda, an economy full of promise”.
The Umuganda bond received orders from Rwandan pension funds, international and domestic asset managers, insurance companies, and banks. The bond was issued at par and priced with a yield of 12.25 percent per annum.
Dr James Ndahiro said, “[At the Rwanda Stock Exchange], we have seen transactions of more than Rwf 170 billion, which have brought together domestic and foreign Investors. They demonstrate that the business environment in Rwanda is conducive and we no longer need to depend solely on foreign aid. IFC’s debt instruments also give investors comfort as they can expect fixed income, which helps them plan.”
Minister of Finance, Claver Gatete was confident that the Umuganda bond would develop capital markets in the region. He added that it was important to attract a diverse range of investors to Rwanda’s market, including, large, small and medium sized businesses.
Beyond financial markets, IFC supports Rwanda’s private sector by working with the government on investment climate reform. Due to reforms in areas such as protecting investors, taxes and getting construction permits; Rwanda ranked second in sub Saharan Africa in the World Bank Group’s ‘Doing Business’ 2014 report.
IFC also invests directly in key sectors of Rwanda’s economy, including infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture. To date, IFC has invested $141 million in Rwanda.