With barely two months to the year’s end, the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) are upbeat they are likely to meet this year’s targets. They base the projection on the fact that activating on RSE secondary market has improved this year compared to the previous year. The figures of the past nine months of 2015 also point a better performance of the exchange. Statistics for the first nine months of this year show that the bourse’s turnover was at Rwf34.4 billion at the end of September, an increase of 45.7 per cent compared to a turnover of Rwf23.6 billion recorded over the same period last year.
Celestin Rwabukumba, the RSE chief executive officer, told the Hope Magazine in an interview that they are targeting a total turnover of Rwf37 billion this year.
“We have remained within the targeted performance despite exogenous factors from the world economic arena affecting businesses worldwide,” he said.
He said the RSE saw an 18 per cent increase in new investors this year, 78.9 per cent of whom are Rwandans.
In addition, there were two new listings this year – Equity Group Holdings Limited and Crystal Telecom, which he said have contributed to increased trading and market capitalization that rose by 95 per cent to $3.9 billion.
The RSE Share Index (RSI), however, went down by 24 per cent during the period, from 235.6 points in January to 174.2 points in September, mainly due to the fall in Bralirwa and Crystal Telecom share prices, which were trading at Rwf280 and Rwf112, respectively at the end of September. This was a drop from Rwf380 in January for Bralirwa and Rwf125 for Crystal Telecom in July.
The Bralirwa counter closed at Rwf237 yesterday, while Crystal Telecom was at Rwf100.
“What is happening as far as share price decline this year is not unique to Rwanda as virtually all other sub-Saharan stock markets prices were down over the last couple of months. This is mainly due to the fact that global commodity prices, especially mining and oil, have dropped considerably affecting many economies across the world and, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa,” Rwabukumba explained.
He added that there were also currency fluctuations.
“Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, among others, have all seen their stock market valuations go down for these reasons. As a result, many stock markets in sub-Sahara Africa have equally adjusted downwards. The prices and valuations in all these markets have adjusted, and this is not unique to Rwanda,” he explained.
He emphasized that all listed firms at the RSE are blue-chip companies, market leaders in their respective markets, adding that their core businesses were doing well.
On the bond market, the government continued issuing infrastructure bonds under its quarterly issuance program. During the past three quarters, three Treasury bonds worth Rwf40 billion have been listed at the RSE, raking in about Rwf770 million in secondary trading turnover, an increase of 766.1 per cent compared to the same period last year where a paltry Rwf70.3 million was realized in the period.
Future prospects and initiatives
Rwabukumba said they have seen some interest from local companies looking to issue do Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and issue corporate bonds, adding that they have started work on Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) products like the Income REIT and Social REIT projects, which are already underway.
“We also expect to have full automation of the RSE by the first quarter of 2016 and regional infrastructure to link the East African Community (EAC) markets also expected in the first half year 2016,” he said.
Commenting on the year’s performance, Robert Mathu, the Capital Market Authority executive director, encouraged Rwandans to use the RSE as an investment vehicle, saying that it is important for people to diversify their revenue streams to ensure sustainable incomes.