Remittances up 24 percent
Rwanda’s private inflows from abroad have increased by 24 percent in the first half of 2009, overshadowing earlier forecasts of a 15 percent at the end of the year.
Viviane Mwitirehe, Director of Statistics in the National Bank of Rwanda said that $85.69 million (Rwf48.39 billion) was remitted into the economy in the first six months of this year compared to $69.13 million (Rwf38.9 billion) in the same period last year.
Though it was surprising considering the global financial crisis, Mwitirehe said that though the figures are just estimates, most remittances occurred through informal channels.
A recent World Bank report said remittance inflows to developing countries could fall by something between one percent and six percent this year from last year, resulting from recession-hit economies.
BK plans to upgrade banking software
The Bank of Kigali (BK) has said it will upgrade its banking software to improve technology based service delivery in a bid to cut operating costs and consolidate its position in the country’s banking industry.
Management says that the upgrade, which is expected within the last quarter of this year, will provide real time processing of transactions through the introduction of new products like internet banking, card services and telephone banking.
“It is also convenient for accessing and making transactions at the comfort of their homes or offices at any time of the day,” James Gatera, the Managing Director of BK said.
Magerwa targets MONUC for Rusizi warehouses
Rwanda bonded warehouses (Magerwa) are in negotiations with MONUC to use its underutilised Rwf1.3 billion warehouses in Rusizi district, western province.
The two warehouses were constructed in 2006 to serve the business community in the western part of Rwanda by handling cargo from Kanombe airport.
Lambert E. Nyoni, the Managing Director of Magerwa said the company has entered into negotiations with MONUC to keep their cargo in the 380sqm warehouse at Kamembe airport
IFC to study SMEs involvement in leasing
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will carryout a survey on how Rwanda’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have embraced leasing as an alternative source of capital in order to offer perfect solutions and programmes for supporting their growth.
Atete Rugege Karimba, the IFC’s Leasing Programme Operations Analyst said that the study will identify the percentage of SMEs involved and the challenges they encounter.
SMEs constitute the biggest percentage of Rwanda’s private sector thus considered crucial in the country’s economic development but they struggle to access financing, mainly because of lack of collateral to stake in banks.
The development comes a few months after the investment arm of the World Bank group alongside the Association of Micro Finance Institutions (AMIR) through Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) introduced micro-leasing for the SMEs segment.
KCB Rwanda in Rwf381.4m losses
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Rwanda, registered a net loss of Rwf381.4 million in the first semester of 2009, according to the bank’s second quarter financial statement.
The bank’s operating expenses were Rwf740.4 million, mainly driven by high costs on development of physical infrastructure, human resource and technology to penetrate into Rwanda’s banking industry.
Maurice Toroitich, KCB Rwanda’s Managing Director said that this normally happens in the first year of operation which is basically a year of investment.
“Unfortunately, it has happened even before you start getting customers.”
The bank invested in fixed assets, staffing, training and paying costs related to starting a new business.
Regional business council get new boss
Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) First Vice President, Faustin Kananura Mbundu has replaced Reginald Mengi as the new chairman of the East African Business Council (EABC) Executive Committee.
Mbundu was appointed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Kigali Serena Hotel yesterday, putting an end to Mengi’s reign who will still serve on the EABC Executive Committee as the immediate Past Chairman.
Mbundu will be assisted by Gerald Ssendaula, Vice Chairman, Uganda, Esther Mkwizu, Vice Chairperson, Tanzania, Keli Kiilu, Vice Chairman, Kenya, and Hermenegilde Ndikumasabo, Vice Chairman, Burundi.
Mbundu who also doubles as the Managing Director of Caferwa said that the entire new committee is looking forward to improve the general business environment in the region.
Magerwa under investigation over tender fraud
Magerwa is under investigation by the Ombudsman’s office over reports tendering scandals for the construction of three warehouses which include the Rwf1.3 billion Magerwa warehouses in Rusizi district, Western Province and that at Kanombe international airport.
The Ombudsman’s office says there were lack of transparency and unfair competition in the tendering.
The tenders that have raised eyebrows in the office of the Ombudsman include the construction of two.
Available information reveals that the proposals for Rusizi warehouse were cheap at presentation but the price was later inflated by Rwf60 million with insufficient reasons.
The same mess is reported in the tender for the Kanombe airport, which rose by Rwf40 million from the original price.
Gov’t set to float its shares in Bralirwa
Government has officially communicated that it will float 25 percent in Bralirwa on the country’s bourse, making it the first Initial Public Offer (IPO) in Rwanda’s history.
No official date has been set for the listing of Rwanda’s leading bear and soft drink manufacturer but government officials expect it could be at the end of this year or early next year.
“Government of Rwanda wishes to offer to the public 25 percent of Bralirwa shares through an IPO on the Rwanda Over The Counter (OTC) market under the on-going privatisation programme and the need to develop the capital market in Rwanda,” a statement inviting professional firms to express interest for the provision of advisory services for the IPO reads in part.
Government holds 30 percent in Bralirwa while Heineken is the majority shareholder with 70 percent.