A new pan-African financial hub opens its doors in Rwanda in June to create a one-stop-shop for African and international investors
“Rwandans have already shown the rest of Africa the importance of working together, we’ve united for peace. Now we’re on our way to becoming a middle-income economy, but we mustn’t achieve that at the expense of our environment.”
The Rwandan government has big ambitions for its new Kigali International Financial Centre to become a major destination for investors seeking opportunities across Africa.
According to the Rwandan opposition MP, Dr Frank Habineza, the hub has the potential to turn Rwanda into “the Dubai of Africa”. The centre, which will launch in Kigali during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in June, will bring together banks, lawyers, accountants, and regulators to create a one-stop-shop for African and international investors.
Dr Habineza, leader of the opposition Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, says the centre is designed to build on the country’s reputation for “ease of doing business”.
“We will be an international hub for investors, just like Dubai … [with] lots of opportunities for them to take advantage of our special economic zones and tax incentives,” he says.
As a former Chair of Rwanda’s Forum on Water, Sanitation and Environment Conservation Dr Habineza hopes that this economic growth in Rwanda won’t be at the expense of the green economy:
“Already we’ve seen deforestation in some areas as our infrastructure has grown. Some people have been using our rivers as dumping sites and that has brought desertification and water pollution, which poses risks to public health”.
His solution is for Rwanda to embrace the challenges of climate change and become a leading African green economy, promoting economic growth while introducing measures to conserve the country’s green spaces:
“We need to think about tomorrow, not just today. Quick fixes won’t work. Rwandans have already shown the rest of Africa the importance of working together, we’ve united for peace. Now we’re on our way to becoming a middle-income economy, but we mustn’t achieve that at the expense of our environment.”