Rwanda Stock Exchange launches platform for SMEs

Gatete rings the bell to launch the platform. / Frederic Byumvuhore

Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) has launched its second securities platform that is targeting small-and-medium businesses. The Small-and-Medium Enterprise Segment (SMEMs) seeks to give SMEs and other corporate companies access to capital market to raise development finance.

Already, over 10 SMEs and other corporates from different sectors of the economy, including ICT, agribusiness, and manufacturing have signed a memorandum of understanding with RSE, under which they will draw roadmap to prepare them listing on exchange’s alternative market segment to raise investment capital, according to Pierre-Celestin Rwabukumba, RSE chief executive officer, said during the SME listing forum this morning. The event was held under the theme, “Accelerating access to long-term capital for small-and-medium enterprise and other corporates to grow their business”.

While launching the platform, Amb Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance, said access to funding is one of big challenges faced by SMEs. He, however, said that Government will continue supporting relevant programmes by stakeholders geared towards boosting prospects of the SME sector, especially access to funds.

Rwabukumba speaks at the event. / Frederic Byumvuhore

The launch of the SME market segment was the climax of two-month “Access and grow” campaign by RSE to encourage small businesses and corporate firms to come to the market to access affordable development funding. The event in Kigali was conducted by RSE in partnership with the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Speaking at the launch, Rwabukumba said they would facilitate SMEs to obtain the requisite information on the necessary steps and processes needed for them to access funding through the new platform of the capital market.

He said the just-ended campaign indicated huge potential among SMEs across all sectors of the economy. Malik Haidara, the director for USAID office of economic growth, said the move would harness the potential of the SME sector and support efforts geared toward developing Rwanda’s economy, which is “one of the fastest growing in Africa”. Haidara added that “linking the local capital markets with SMEs is a very practical pathway of developing Rwanda’s economy”.

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