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Kenya's Banking Tycoon Mwangi to build Kigali Financial Towers

James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Group Holdings Limited. / Photo: Net.

Rwanda’s plans to fully develop the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC) could be edging closer to realization following a development which will see Kenyan businessman James Mwangi set up financial towers in Rwanda.

The project, Kigali Financial Towers, was approved by the cabinet last week, and will be developed by Equity Holding (EH) Venture Capital, an investment arm of Equity Group.

 

The Group is a brainchild of Mwangi, whose banking unit already has operations in Rwanda and across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), told The New Times that the Kigali Financial Towers will be a real estate project that will be located in town, Nyarugenge District.

 

“They will build one of the buildings for the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), and the idea is for it to be a state-of-the-art real estate project with a hotel that can accommodate people working at the Centre,” she said.

Akamanzi added that such kind of investments in real estate is necessary for attracting global financial brands like HSBC – British multinational investment bank – or Citibank.

“Again, if Rwanda becomes a financial centre, staff will travel a lot so you always need a hotel nearby where those people can stay,” she noted.

The Government has been building a foundation upon which the country can become a regional financial centre, including signing partnership agreements with other financial centres in the world.

The Kigali Finance Limited was set up to spearhead that agenda and tens of laws have been revised to build a conducive environment for big banks, wealth management firms, insurance companies, and other multinational businesses to set up base in Rwanda.

The Kigali Financial Towers is one of the latest additions towards that development.

Akamanzi said the cabinet had to approve such a private project because they believe it is a “strategic project that is going to support the growth and vision of the International Financial Centre.”

Following the cabinet approval, the government will now sign an agreement that paves away for the development of the project, which should be completed within three years from the time of signing.

The real estate project will be built at the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation land, just next to Ecobank Headquarters in the City Centre.

EH Venture Capital official based in Kenya told The New Times that the project was still at an early stage with no more details regarding the size of the commercial development and level investment to reveal at the moment.

However, he said, “Definitely we’ll be done by the [project] design early next year.”

The concept of financial towers is not new. In the United Arab Emirates, Emirates Financial Towers is a 27 story twin-tower commercial development located in the Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai’s central financial district.

jbizimungu@newtimesrwanda.com

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