Belgium and Rwanda strengthen ties through new partnership

In a new era for Belgian-Rwanda relations, Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL) and the Belgian Finance Center (BFC) announce the signing of an extended partnership to strengthen ties between their financial sectors. This marks the beginning of a new journey of partnership and cooperation for the two countries.

The newly signed agreement between RFL and the BFC connects East Africa with the heart of Europe and lays the foundations for a lasting cooperation in promoting investment opportunities between Belgium and Rwanda. The areas of partnership are wide ranging and will have a transformative impact on both financial centres. Notably, the agreement will provide a platform for exchange, encouraging best practices and knowledge sharing in the fields of SME financing through diaspora investment and corporate governance, while Belgium and Rwanda will promote each other's work, both in Africa and globally and ultimately working together to capitalise on the momentum of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Mutual recognition for regulated entities also forms a core part of the agreement, and this will likely open up extensive opportunities for entities based both in Belgium and Rwanda as access to industries in both markets is made easier.

The partnership also aims to facilitate the sharing of information and expertise between the two entities in order to develop effective cooperation. This component will include the organization of joint education and professional financial training programs, research and workshops, but also publications and exchanges of business delegations, among others. Capacity building for both parties is also a central focus, through technical assistance, staff secondments and sharing best practice and experiences in the development of a financial centre.

Nick Barigye, CEO of Rwanda Finance Limited, declared: “Over the last decade we have seen the relationship between the EU and Africa grow increasingly stronger. The signing of this new agreement is testament to that enduring relationship. Working together we can achieve more than going it alone. As such, we are delighted to sign this partnership with the BFC. Our financial centres share many similarities, but equally, we have much to learn from each other and this partnership facilitates this, strengthening an existing understanding of the importance of working together. The partnership covers two key themes in the context of the post-Covid recovery: the financing of SMEs and corporate governance. This partnership is also a pledge of recognition of the excellent relations that unite Africa to Europe, and Rwanda to Belgium."

For his part, Bruno Colmant, Chairman of the BFC said: “We are very keen to promote the cooperation of Belgium with Rwanda. Both Rwanda Finance and the Belgian Finance Center are members of the World Alliance of International Financial Centers, which demonstrates our willingness to develop mutual aid between countries. We believe that financial centers have the capacity to promote economic growth and international cooperation through their links and their technological skills."

Dr. Jochen Biedermann, managing director of the World Alliance of International Financial Centers, added: “The WAIFC very much welcomes the partnership between BFC and Rwanda Finance, as it underscores the importance of international cooperation for financial centers, which is at the core of WAIFC’s mission. WAIFC encourages closer collaboration between its members, which goes beyond the joint WAIFC projects in various areas, e.g., Sustainable finance, FinTech, or SME finance. The BFC is a WAIFC founding member with a long history in financial services. At the same time, Rwanda Finance is WAIFC’s 18th member, joined in 2020, and has a bright future in developing Kigali into a leading financial hub for Africa. Sharing experience and best practices can contribute a lot to achieving that goal.”