Banque Commerciale du Rwanda gets international investors
Emerging market private equity firm Actis has sold its interest in Banque Commerciale du Rwanda (BCR), in an effort to broaden BCR’s international reach.
Actis’ 80% interest in BCR was sold to Kenyan regional bank I&M and French and German development finance institutions, Proparco and DEG, with the remaining 20% still held by the government of Rwanda.
Rwanda’s minister of finance and economic planning, John Rwangombwa, says: “The successful equity exit of Actis reflects the investment opportunities that the Rwandan government has helped foster. This new sale is a testament to the attractiveness of Rwanda as an investment destination. Rwanda is committed to creating a financial sector that is inclusive and accessible to allow Rwandans to take advantages of all its services.”
Actis acquired interest in BCR in a 2004 privatisation meant to boost the country’s economy following the post-genocide crisis. Its strategy was to strengthen the management team, recruiting and training local Rwandan staff, and to broaden BCR’s range of services with a particular focus on small businesses.
“The privatisation of BCR in 2004 through a private equity investment was the first of its type in the Rwanda banking sector and has been highly successful,” adds Rwangombwa.
Paul Fletcher, senior partner at Actis, says: “The story of BCR is the story of Rwanda’s success. 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 currently has over US$300mn of investments in East Africa, and plans to invest another US$200mn in the region in the next four years.