Rwanda - Country Commercial Guide
Financial Services

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-11-11

Overview

There are currently 16 commercial banks in Rwanda as well as a number of microfinance institutions and rural savings and credit cooperatives.  The sector is overseen by the National Bank of Rwanda.  Growth potential remains strong with only 77 percent of the population engaged in the formal financial system (which includes the banking sector as well as insurance firms, mobile money networks, and microfinance institutions).  As of 2020, 36 percent of adults in Rwanda had access to and were using banking services (up from only 26 percent in 2016, 23 percent in 2012 and 14 percent in 2008).  Banks wishing to establish a presence in Rwanda must apply for a license from the National Bank of Rwanda by presenting a business model showing that there is a gap in the market and demonstrating a minimum share capital of approximately $8 million.  In order to improve access to credit, a private credit reference agency has been set up.  All banks and other financial institutions must be members.  Other companies such as utilities can be voluntary participants.

The three largest commercial banks in descending order of market share are:  Bank of Kigali, Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR), and I&M Bank.  Other banks present in Rwanda are: Ecobank, GT Bank, Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, NCBA (formerly the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA)), Access Bank, Bank of Africa, Cogebanque, Urwego, Development Bank of Rwanda and microfinance banks AB Bank, Zigama, and Unguka.

Rwanda has established the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), an ecosystem that seeks to attract international financial service providers and funds to Rwanda.  It is modeled on those available in advanced regional markets such as Mauritius, Marrakesh, and Johannesburg.  Over the course of 2020 and 2021, Rwanda changed the majority of its investment and commercial laws to align with OECD best practices for financial centers.  The 2021 Investment Code provides incentives for companies that operate in the KIFC.

Opportunities

  • Commercial bank products and services, particularly in rural areas
  • Competitive loan facilities
  • Agricultural products/services financing
  • Development banks, especially to finance SMEs
  • Microfinance opportunities
  • Mortgage financing
  • Investment banking services
  • Training of financial sector professionals
  • Insurance services especially re-insurance
  • Equity and bonds purchases at Rwanda’s capital market
  • Provision of life policies and other innovative insurance products such as agriculture and medical scheme
  • Special financing solutions (private equity funds)
  • Institutional and human capacity building in capital and financial markets.
  • Kigali International Financial Centre (fund management, collective investment schemes, wealth management services, financial advisory, financial technology, captive insurance schemes, private banking, mortgage finance, finance lease, asset backed securities, reinsurance companies, trust, and corporate services)

For more information on the payment system and banking sector in Rwanda, contact the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), the Rwanda Bankers Association (RBA), and RDB.