A foothold in Africa, is how the senior representatives of INSEAD (European Institute of Business Administration), described the just completed five day conference, in the Rwandan capital of Kigali. But they are yet to define precisely what “foothold” will mean.
Over the five days, Chief Executive Officers, and other senior figures, from the finance industry, including banking, gathered for what INSEAD calls an Executive Education Programme. Put together by the Kigali International Finance Centre (KIFC), in partnership with INSEAD, The Rwanda Bankers’ Association, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and the Brussels-Africa Hub, the programme looked primarily, at Valuation and Risk Management in Banking.
The delegates chewed through weighty subjects such as, The cost of Capital and Capital Structure, Asset & Liability Management, Control of Interest Rate and Liquidity Risks, and Initial Public Offers.
“The INSEAD Executive programme comes at a time when we need highly qualified professionals, to serve the Kigali International Financial Centre. Having a globally recognised institution such this, come to Rwanda, is pivotal to the continued development and regional positioning of our centre and will ensure continued access to first class training for local professionals” declared CEO of Rwanda Finance Ltd, Nick Barigye.
His enthusiasm was echoed by deputy CEO of RDB, Zephanie Niyonkuru, “This training programme is an important landmark in establishing a long term partnership with INSEAD to upskill Rwandan workforce in the financial sector. Rwanda Development Board will continue to promote programmes that boost skills development in Rwanda, in line with the country’s long term ambition to become a knowledge hub.”
It is the first time in its sixty year history, that INSEAD has dipped in African waters, with landlocked Rwanda’s attraction, being that it meets the essential requirements. According to Jean Dermine, one of the programme’s leaders, much of the credit for INSEAD’s presence in Rwanda, goes to the President of Brussels-Africa Hub, Mouctar Bah, who championed the conference.
“It’s the first time in 60 years, the programme has come to Africa, and so we are very proud that it has been possible. We have also been surprised and impressed with the level of the participants, CEOs came and stayed for the whole five days, normally, CEOs don’t show so much enthusiasm. They have a lot of expertise in banking, but they also wanted to learn more” enthused Dermine.
According to Dermine, Rwanda provides a welcoming, suitable gateway into Africa, because it offers the necessary conditions, that are sadly missing in much of the continent.
“Rwanda is a well organised place, with a stable political system, and legal system, a clear vision, and is free of corruption…we now have a beginning of a relationship, a foothold in the country, which could mean establishing an international centre, to begin with, and then see what happens next, after that.”
“Political stability, and a strong, stable legal system, is essential for A stable, peaceful political system, and a stable legal are essential for the development of a finance industry” added Theo Vermaelen, who co-led the programme.
With the confidence to announce themselves with the moto, ‘The Business School for the World’ INSEAD is widely considered one of the world’s best business schools. It has campuses in almost every continent, except Africa. This however, may be about to change. With the laying of the foundation stone for an African campus, they can soon highlight the moto as truly a business school for the world.
Like most business schools, ISEAD admits only graduates. As Vermaelen points out, a campus in Rwanda, will mean lowering of costs, for African students. Instead of going to Paris, the school’s main headquarters, with all the expense that that entails, they will be able to study closer to home, in Rwanda.