Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) which is Kenya’s largest privately owned bank, has officially started its banking operations in Rwanda following the successful acquisition of Crane Bank Rwanda Ltd, now re-launched as CBA Rwanda Limited.
The move into Rwanda, increases CBA’s footprint in the continent, to five countries, which include Tanzania, Uganda, Ivory Coast and Kenya where the 56-year-old bank has its headquarters.
“Rwanda stands out amongst its peers in East Africa because the economy has grown impressively and sustainably from 2000 to 2017, with a GDP growth rate averaging 7.2% annually. Rwanda today is considered a “digitally-ready” country, as the Rwandan consumer is quite tech-savvy, while the regulatory environment is conducive for investment and amongst the most progressive in Africa” said Desterio Oyatsi, CBA Group Chairman, during the CBA Rwanda launch.
He said, “We have taken a long-term positive view in our decision to invest in Rwanda. Our strategy has been to leverage technology in order to drive financial inclusion by banking the unbanked and financially empowering people and businesses in the real economy. We aim to reach as many people as possible thereby boosting financial inclusion in each country where we do business.”
CBA’s journey into Rwanda’s financial market started in February 2017, when the bank partnered with MTN Rwanda to launch “MoKash,” a pioneering mobile banking and credit product similar to M-Shwari in Kenya. The product currently has 700,000 customers, in Rwanda, which has a population of 12 million people.
CBA projects that its investment and presence in Rwanda will grow as it supports the country’s economic growth.
The investment in Rwanda is a key pillar in the implementation of CBA’s current 5-year strategic vision. According to Mr. Oyatsi, the bank is positioning itself to be the intermediator and facilitator of regional business growth by supporting business venturing across borders in the coming years.
CBA is supported by a Group Balance sheet of USD 2.5 Billion as at December 2017. The bank also boasts of over 33 million customers across the five countries CBA operates in.
In Rwanda, CBA bank will initially operate three branches, with the head office branch located at Kigali Heights, and 2 other branches located at Labonne Address and Downtown Kigali respectively.