$250 million continental investment fund established in Kigali

The Kigali International Financial Centre has announced the entrance of a $250 million investment fund dubbed Virunga Africa Fund I which will invest in sectors capable of driving economic growth and social transformation across Africa.

The anchor investors of the fund are the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).

RSSB is the largest investment fund in Rwanda with investments in infrastructure, financial services, hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare.

The Fund will be managed by Admaius, an independent investment firm with experienced pan-African investment teams.

The senior leadership team includes Donald Kaberuka, the former President of the African Development Bank Group, acting as Non-Executive Chairman.

Others in the firm’s leadership include Marlon Chigwende, Davinder Sikand, Amine Allam, Maty N’diaye and Anita Umulisa. Umulisa is the firm’s Chief Financial Officer and previously played a similar role at I&M Bank Rwanda.

The Fund’s Head Office will be based in Kigali and domiciled in the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC) serving as a centralized holding presence for financial activities across Africa.

Other offices will be in Kenya, Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire, and the United Kingdom.

According to officials, the fund will target investments capable of delivering tangible change for Rwandans and people across the continent.

The fund aims to invest in projects that will increase access to essential services including healthcare, education, digital infrastructure, and financial services.

“The Fund will leverage strong in-house and industry sector expertise to guide businesses through digital transformation and create long-term value, capitalizing on post-Covid-19 opportunities, strong demographic tailwinds, and secular growth trends,” the firm’s concept note mentions in part.

Nick Barigye, the Chief Executive of Rwanda Finance Limited, the agency leading the development and promotion of the Kigali International Financial Centre said that the investment preference of KIFC is proof of compliance and attractiveness of the jurisdiction for Pan- African investment.

“Investors see that Rwanda offers them strategic advantages; these include good governance, high levels of connectivity, efficiency, transparency, and an ease of doing business which has been internationally recognised. KIFC looks forward to the success of the Virunga Africa Fund I and welcome more regional and international players who wish to transform the investment landscape of Africa,” he said.

Regis Rugemanshuro, Director General of the Rwanda Social Security Board, said that the establishment of Virunga Africa Fund I is evidence that international investors are increasingly seeing the huge opportunities Africa offers.

“The Fund will unlock tremendous value and deliver real development impact benefitting people across the continent – at a time when economies are trying to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. We appreciate the Qatar International Authority partnering with RSSB as cornerstone investors in this historic project which will improve the lives of people in Rwanda, and across Africa,” he said.

Kigali International Financial Centre was in September ranked on the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), a renowned ranking on the competitiveness of financial centres across the world.

The index rates 116 financial centres across the world combining assessments from financial professionals with quantitative data which form instrumental factors.

Kigali International Financial Centre was also mentioned among the top centres likely to become more significant going forward as well as among centres enjoying reputational advantage.

During its slightly over one year of operations, Kigali International Financial Centre has attracted a number of investors and members ranging from social impact investors, angel investors, investment companies, financial services providers, corporate services providers among others.

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