Rwandair Express will resume flights to Johannesburg, South Africa, next month having concluded negotiations to lease a Boeing 737-300 plane, said Gerald Zilimwabagabo, Chairman and Managing Director Rwandair-Express.
Rwandair suspended Kigali-Johannesburg operations after the only leased plane, was grounded four months ago due to technical problems, bringing a temporary standstill flights to Nairobi, Kenya; Bujumbura, Burundi; and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
However, Zilimwabagabo stressed that the company has come a long way in the last four months and now has stabilised.
Market speculation indicates that Rwandair could be losing more than $636,000 (Frw347m) a month from the grounding of the Kigali-Johannesburg bound plane.
Zilimwabagabo did not deny or confirm the potential monetary losses.
Earlier this year, Rwandair increased its routes to different destinations such as Entebbe, Uganda, and Nairobi after leasing two planes.
Zilimwabagabo disclosed that the company plans to purchase two new aircrafts and a used one, with the intention of introducing new destinations, Gisenyi, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, before the end this year.
The chairman said there are hopes for partnership with Lonrho Aviation, a UK-based company, to own about 49 per cent share of the capital to help the airline improve its services, route network and management.
He was optimistic the recovery will be able to attract new potential investors following its privatisation plans after Brussels Airline, as the highest bidder, failed to submit its financial proposal.
EA securities regulators eye Burundi
Companies and individuals in Burundi can only participate in East African regional Initial Public Offerings (IPO) without discrimination, if the country joins the East Africa Securities Regulators Authorities (EASRA).
Fratern M. Mboya, chief executive officer of the Tanzania Capital Markets and Securities Authority, said this would make it easy for Burundians to cross list their shares on regional stock exchanges.
He explained that Burundi will not waste resources and time developing a legal framework since these will be harmonised throughout the region while a single prospectus and certification programme is also expected soon.
A team of chief executive officers of the regulatory authorities will meet with the Governor of the Central Bank of Burundi, Gaspard Sindayigaya to discuss the possibility of joining next month.
They will review EASRA’s goals and objectives and explore opportunities for mutual assistance in the region.
Regulators aim at having a regional capital market harmonisation by the end of 2009.
EASRA was established in 1997 when Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding to share information and ensure mutual assistance and cooperation between members to develop capital markets institutions.
EASRA aims to advance integrating the East African capital markets but Mboya said there are issues to be sorted out by the securities regulators, such as adopting an integration model.
Rwanda’s CMAC joined EASRA on March 20 this year, leaving Burundi as the only East African country non-member.
Fina Bank launches cross border money transfer
Residents in Rwanda and Kenya can now send and receive money in either country following the launch of a new cross-border money transfer product by Fina Bank.
‘Fina Direct’ will save residents carrying large sums of money while in transit.
According to Stephen Caley, Fina Bank managing director, the new product will decrease risk when sending money internationally since senders will count on Fina Direct as a fast, secure, and affordable way to transfer money.
Fina Bank Group Chief Executive Officer, Frank Griffiths, said the initiative solidifies Fina Bank’s presence in East Africa and strengthens the financial wellbeing of people.
The transfer takes 30 minutes to complete, however, Kenneth Agaba, Fina Bank Executive Director of Business Banking, said the bank wants to be able to finalise the transfer within five minutes.
The cost to transfer is $35 (Frw19) for any amount below $50,000 (Frw27m) and $45 (Frw24) for any money transfer above $50,000.
“Transfer of big sums of money require additional documents from the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR),” Agaba said.
The money transfer facility is open to the public regardless of being an account holder but only works within the Fina Bank group.
Currently, Fina Bank has five branches in Rwanda and eight in Kenya. The bank hopes to open a branch in Kampala, Uganda by the end of October.
London trade fair attracts 26 firms
The second Rwanda Business Follow-up Series and Expo ’08 to take place in London later this month has registered 26 Rwandan companies.
A statement from Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA) reads that companies from the handicraft, coffee, tea, banking, agro-processing and tour operating industries are to attend the expo, taking place August 20-24.
With the theme ‘Expanding Investment and Market Opportunities for Rwanda’, the main objective is to expose Rwandan products and services to the U.K. market.
RIEPA says it wants to sustain interest and demand for Rwandan products and investment opportunities among the business communities in the U.K.
“The fair sessions will be a close follow-up of a few selected contacts with a possibility of investing in Rwanda.”
RIEPA has limited the number of businesses at the meeting to 50, “in order to stimulate intimate discussions.” The list will be finalsied soon.
RIEPA has chosen London to showcase its products because the British are Europe’s main tea and coffee consumers.
Fair trade and specialty instant coffee has emerged as a successful niche market in Britain, RIEPA said in its statement.