VENTURES AFRICA – Rwanda’s biggest bank by assets the Bank of Kigali has announced a 34 percent rise in profits for the first nine months of this year, and says it will diversify into stockbroking.
The pretax profit was driven by a higher interest income, according to Reuters.
“We are pleased with the bank’s performance year-to-date as well as our performance this quarter. We received the necessary approvals and licences to begin our stockbroking operations,” Chief Executive Officer James Gatera said.
The bank has now launched a wholly-owned subsidiary for brokering, and received approval to run branchless agency banking, with five mobile banking vans serving isolated Rwandans. It has recruited 300 agents.
The bank – in which the Rwandan government sold its 45 percent stake last August for $62.5 million in an oversubscribed initial public offering (IPO) – also plans to expand into Kenya this year, with Uganda also a target for the future.
Profit increased to 11.5 billion Rwanda francs ($18.26 million), with net interest income rising to 15.8 billion francs ($25 million) from 11.6 billion francs ($18.42 million) in the same period last year. Total assets were up 14 per cent, with gross loans up by almost a third.
Rwanda’s economy has been going through a period of steady expansion, and looks set to hit 7.7 per cent growth this year. GDP last year grew by 8.6 percent. While inflation and deflated currencies have affected neighbours like Kenya and Uganda, Rwanda has escaped these problems, in part thanks to its agricultural production controlling food prices.