Top executives from leading financial centres from around the world met in Kigali this week as Rwanda, for the first time, hosted the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC). The development, according to Kigali International Finance Centre (KIFC), aligns with Rwanda’s ambition to position herself as a preferred financial jurisdiction for investments into Africa and by providing an attractive destination for investors. Rwanda joined WAIFC in October 2020 and has since been represented on the global board by Nick Barigye, CEO of Rwanda Finance Limited. In Kigali, the Alliance held its board meeting during a three-day series of events which will include an ecosystem tour of the Norrsken Foundation, a panel discussion on sustainable finance and various engagements with government officials and financial sector stakeholders. On Tuesday, the group was hosted by President Paul Kagame during which board members underscored their willingness to deepen cooperation. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome our colleagues from around the world to Rwanda. This week is historic for our country,” commented Nick Barigye, CEO of Rwanda Finance Limited. “WAIFC bringing its Board Meeting to Kigali reflects the strategic achievements that Rwanda has made over a short space of time and is thanks to the hard work of our team, the direction of our board led by Tidjane Thiam, and our stakeholders,” he added. An Ivorian economist of global repute, Thiam is the current board chair of Rwanda Finance Limited. Despite adverse effects of the pandemic, Barigye said that Rwanda has been working around the clock to reform its regulatory ecosystem and innovate in ways never thought possible. “Today, we are using the WAIFC platform to call on our fellow financial centres to continue the momentum toward more sustainable finance. Here in Rwanda, the Sustainable Finance Roadmap for KIFC is being developed to position the Centre as a regional hub for sustainable finance and will be published later this year,” Barigye added. He shared similar sentiments with Dr Jochen Biedermann, Managing Director of the WAIFC. “It is great to be here in Rwanda for the first time. It is a huge tribute to KIFC and Nick Barigye’s team that they can host this Board Meeting so soon since their inception. “The work that has been done on the ground here in Kigali to modernize and innovate has been fast but thorough and we cannot wait to see where Rwanda goes from here,” he said. The gathering, KIFC said, is an opportune moment to call on global finance centers to continue putting green finance and fintech at the heart of future investments. Powered by an entrepreneurial attitude towards sustainability, Rwanda is making strides towards developing a carbon-neutral and climate resilient economy. Rwanda has huge potential for renewable energy, and the country established the Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Center (CPCIC) in 2019 to facilitate the reskilling of Rwanda’s workforce towards putting sustainability and green growth first, KIFC added in a statement. With nearly two years of operations, the KIFC, an initiative that seeks to position Rwanda as a business and financial hub in Africa, has already attracted a number of high profile companies and service providers and has already launched a pan African membership network. The development is part of the efforts to become one of the leading international ﬁnancial centres on the continent. As it stands, KIFC says it has developed a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework, robust infrastructure, and a skilled and dynamic workforce that will help investors develop their interests across Africa. Rwanda Finance is the agency mandated to promote the centre.