London-based emerging markets investor Actis has sold its stake in Banque Commerciale du Rwanda (BCR) to Kenyan regional bank I&M Bank (I&M) and French and German development finance institutions Proparco and DEG.
Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon John Rwangombwa heralded the sale of the country’s second largest bank as a privatisation success story for Africa.
“The privatisation of Banque Commerciale du Rwanda in 2004 through a private equity investment was the first of its type in the Rwanda banking sector and has been highly successful,” he added.
Actis bought an 80 per cent stake in BCR in a 2004 privatisation, with the remaining 20 per cent interest retained by the Government of Rwanda.
When Actis invested, Rwanda was a post-conflict economy. It has since developed into an attractive investment destination with a strong financial infrastructure and a robust regulatory system.
The firm broadened BCR’s range of services with a particular focus on SMEs, mortgage finance, and innovative leasing and savings products.
“The story of BCR is the story of Rwanda’s success,” said Actis senior partner Paul Fletcher.
“If we think back to 2003/4, the financial services sector was largely undeveloped and in need of capital; a large proportion of the population was unbanked.
“There has been extraordinary progress in the past eight years with the creation of a growing and competitive financial services industry at the heart of a thriving economy.”
Actis remains strongly committed to East Africa with over $300m currently invested in the region and an intention to put at least $200m to work over the next four years.
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