While attending a gala dinner to celebrate Bank of Kigali’s 50th anniversary, President Paul Kagame has said that the importance of a dynamic and competitive banking sector for Rwanda’s development cannot be emphasised enough.
He remarked that the story of Bank of Kigali, which is one of the oldest and largest banks in the country, is the story of Rwanda’s financial sector as a whole.
“Surviving for 50 year is not the real achievement. It is what the Bank of Kigali has become in that time that we are here to celebrate,” Kagame said.
He further pointed out that investment requires confidence in stable and reliable financial institutions, able to supply adequate capital at affordable rates, and pledged the government’s support in creating a level playing field through sound regulation and an attractive business climate.
Kagame reminded Bank of Kigali’s management, staff and shareholders that banking is not just about numbers.
“Banking is really about the hopes and dreams of real people. It is about building homes for our families, saving for our children’s education. It is also about having the personal financial security to be able to face life’s challenges without undue anxiety,” he emphasised.
The President called on the private sector to continue to work together with the government to making credit products affordable and easily accessible.
Bank of Kigali was incorporated in Rwanda on 22 December 1966 and commenced its operations with its first branch in Kigali the next year. It was initially a joint venture between the government of Rwanda and Belgolaise – a subsidiary of Fortis Bank operating in Sub-Saharan Africa – with each owning 50% of the ordinary share capital.
In 2007, the government acquired the Belgolaise shareholding in Bank of Kigali, thereby increasing its direct and indirect shareholding in the Bank to 100% of the entire Issued Shares.
Bank of Kigali has the country’s largest branch network, and is one of Rwanda’s most iconic and recognisable brands. It was the first Rwandan bank to receive an international credit rating, and also the first bank to list its shares on the Rwanda Stock Exchange.