Rwanda's President Paul Kagame Prefers Capital Markets for Investment Finance, Not Aid
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame says African countries will not succeed economically if the continent does not embrace the spirit of integration and cooperation.
"No country on our continent on its own is big enough or rich enough to build and sustain the markets thatAfrica needs," Kagame said, adding that, "Regional, continental and even global integration is more essential than ever before."
Kagame made the remarks on February 12 while officially opening the East African Capital Markets Conference held in Rwanda's capital-Kigali.
He told hundreds of regional and global players that Africa presents enormous opportunities in this industry, but for it to advance, "it should be as resilient and inclusive as Africa itself."
Kagame regretted that Africa is much poorer than it has any reason to be, because it has lacked the ability to accumulate its own wealth. "Wealth we have in Africa is being recycled to us in forms of aid...," he said.
He told participants that it's time Africa understood that capital markets are part of the infrastructure of optimism upon which Africa's prosperity rests.
"Look at the rest of the world. Capital markets can outweigh what we get in aid by thousands of times," he said.
He encouraged investors to consider capital markets in Africa as a lucrative area to invest in.
However, many investors were candid enough to raise their concerns. Yong Wang Deputy CEO and EVP, China-Africa Development Fund said, "Investing in Africa is risky," however adding that, "but not investing is even riskier."
The Rwanda Capital market is the youngest on the continent, but equipped with the latest technology, flexible and globalized laws and regulations.
Barely five years old, the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), has six listed companies, and four of them are foreign. But the government issues quarterly bonds as part of a plan to develop the industry.
Last year, IFC issued a US$22m bond on the RSE, which was oversubscribed by 400%.
Rwanda is regarded a risk-free economy with minimal inflationary risks and a positive growth rate averaging 8% over the past decade. Upon issuing a US $400m Eurobond on the Irish Stock Exchange in April, 2013, the 10-year sovereign debt was oversubscribed by 875%, earning the country US $3.5b.