Why Investors Are Hungry For Rwandan Stocks

Rwanda capital market is experiencing a rapid growth as evidenced by investors’ thirst for acquiring stakes in local and government bonds.

A few weeks ago, Kenya’s Equity Bank listed over 3.6 billion shares on Rwanda’s stock exchange (RSE). This capitalised the market from $2.1 billion to $4.2 billion.

Crystal Ventures Limited, a local conglomerate valued at $500 million, announced it will soon sell its 20% stake in MTN, a South African telecom with more than 50% market share.

Although Celestin Rwabukumba, CEO for Rwanda stock exchange is not yet satisfied, he says, “Equity has acted as a benchmark for other banks and increased the visibility of the market, but there is more money in the economy, we need more investors.”

“This is a significant injection into our market,” noted Robert Mathu, Executive Director of Rwanda Capital Market Authority (RCMA).

Brokerage companies are excited. “This is good news,” says Isabella Ingabire of African Alliance Ltd. She adds, “We have had only two listed companies out of six, this will boost our market

Rwanda’s Finance Minister, Claver Gatete, told KT Press that government is privatising firms to boost industry, confirming the selling of its 20% stake in I&M. Another bank, Bank Populaire, is likely to sell before end of 2015.

International investors rate the market positively, despite being young and new.

Jendayi Frazer, former U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, has ventured with other investors into a $10 million East Africa Commodities Exchange. She told KTPress that the market started late, but has the learning of the others.

“It will be a first class,” she said. “It has the latest technology, an environment where the rule of law matters. There is trust, transparency and no corruption. It gives investors confidence.”

In April 2013, Rwanda issued its debut 10-year $400 million Euro bond, which was oversubscribed by $3 billion, or 7.5 times the issued size.

The International Finance Corporation, which has played a key role in developing Rwanda capital market, issued a Rwf3.5 billion ($5m) bond in February on the Luxembourg stack exchange after issuing another $22 million bond on the RSE, which was oversubscribed by 400%.

President Paul Kagame is pushing for the market’s growth to minimise dependence on aid.  “Markets are less political…they are neutral,” he said.

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