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Making Rwanda a Foreign Investment Hub Means Restructuring its Financial Sector

In early 2020 Rwanda launched the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), a project driven by Rwanda Finance to transform Kigali into a major financial hub capable of attracting foreign investment and encouraging the creation of highly skilled jobs in the finance sector. To help achieve this goal, the country’s authorities have undertaken an ambitious restructuring of the local banking and financial sector backed by a legal and fiscal framework including no capital gains tax for business angels backing a local startup and tax holidays of up to seven years in some business sectors. Partnerships will be key to the centre’s vision, says Nick Barigye, CEO of KIFC. Rwanda Finance has already entered into strategic partnerships with BPI France, the Belgian Finance Center (BFC), and Casablanca Finance City (CFC), another sizeable financial platform on the continent. KIFC announced in November 2021 the launch of the Virunga Africa Fund, an investment vehicle of $250m focused on impact investing and jointly funded by the Qatar Investment Authority and the Rwanda Social Security Board. In December 2021 BK Group (Bank of Kigali) became the first local holding company to register with KIFC. Ntoudi Mouyelo, chief investment officer at Rwanda Finance, said that onboarding BK Group is key for KIFC’s efforts to build a community of local and foreign businesses that can benefit from the centre. More recently, on 3 February, the finance agency made official the launch of the first African fund focused on financial technologies. Endowed with $50m and supported by the teams at the South African firm MyGrowthFund Venture Partners, the fund will concentrate on fintech companies operating in Africa.