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Bank of Kigali 2017 pricing policy 'to promote good corporate governance'


BK board chairman Holtzman discusses the future of banking



Holtzman speaks during a past event. / Courtesy

It is exactly a year since Marc Holtzman was unveiled as Board Chairman of Bank of Kigali. In an exclusive interview with The New Times’ Peterson Tumwebaze last week, Holtzman discussed the bank’s up-coming 50th anniversary this December and gave an insight into the future of banking and what Bank of Kigali will be doing to ensure it retains its market leadership and relevance to customers.

Below are the excerpts...

First things first; how would you evaluate your efforts over the last twelve months as Board Chairman of Bank of Kigali, any quick wins?

Among the notable quick wins, we have successfully done the ground work for the bank’s digital transformation; our mobile banking business will be launched in the 1st half of 2017. Under Diane Karusisi’s incredibly effective leadership, we are also getting ready to launch BK-General Insurance which will provide great products for consumers in Rwanda and substantially help increase the national insurance penetration. The ultimate goal is to see total transformation to a truly 21st century bank catering for the financial and non-financial needs of Rwandans and East Africans at large. Looking ahead, 2016 has been a transformational year in which we think we have laid a firm foundation to support tremendous growth for the Bank in coming years.

A transformational year indeed, also considering that in January, you oversaw a major change of guard in the bank’s executive management when Dr Karusisi replaced Dr James Gatera, how would you assess the effect of the transition on the business performance?

Gatera did a fantastic job during his ten-year tenure. He provided exemplary leadership and Dr Karusisi, without a doubt, came in knowing she had some big shoes to fill. Fortunately for us, Karusisi has not only performed incredibly well in her new role but has also exceeded the Board’s high expectations. She has built very strong bonds with customers and has motivated our staff to serve with the highest level of professional integrity for which our institution strongly stands. She has also been omnipresent in the operations of the bank and her strong belief in technology espouses the true vision of where Bank of Kigali’s growth should focus not only over the next year but the next five decades, in order to better serve the people of this great country.

Since going public, on September 1, 2011 at Rwf 125 per share, how would you assess the Bank of Kigali share price performance over the period; what would be your advice to investors?

Our shares have done quite well. The share price has since doubled and when you consider the dividends that we have paid even in dollar terms, the picture is an impressive one. But we can do better and I am very confident that with more effective communication of our vision to the market and to our international investors as well as domestic shareholders, we shall see an even stronger performance in coming years.

It is already the 4th quarter of 2016, how has the performance of the Rwandan economy impacted on your business, do you see the Bank meeting its financial KPIs?

I am very happy with the performance of the economy and that of the bank. There is always room for improvement and we are always looking for ways to do better but we have done very well, so far; we should be proud of our achievements and accomplishments while we have plans to do even better next year.

Bank of Kigali has recently expanded its interests to insurance and financial technology businesses, in BK-Insurance and BK-Telecom, respectively, what informs this diversification?

It is a fact that today a Bank is an aggregator of financial services; a bank should provide services to facilitate every type of imaginable transaction service for the customer. Today a bank is not just a place where you keep money, it is a place where you pay bills, facilitate securities’ transactions, transfer money, or be able to, with total ease, organize a loan digitally or over a telephone. We are building that type of bank, which will be a one stop centre for our customers’ financial and non-financial needs--- everything under one roof.

While access to credit has improved in recent years, the big elephant in the room is cost of credit mainly affecting retail customers; recently Kenya passed a cap law on interest rates; is this an approach you would favour, if not, what remedy would you prescribe?

First, let me mention that we are fully committed to expanding our retail foot print and to making a major effort to serve the population of Rwanda and the region. Number two; interest rates are a function of risk and risk considerations in the market. But as this market becomes more developed, with a more predictable environment for investment, I believe interest rates will decline organically. That is because the competitive forces in the market will demand that interest rates become more competitive especially considering that inflation is relatively modest in this market. The Kenya approach is very dangerous because the minute you start imposing government mandated regulations it has the opposite of its intended effect. In Kenya, basically almost all retail and corporate lending is frozen because the banks can’t afford to lend at artificially low rates that do not compensate for the risks that the institutions have to take. It would, therefore, be highly dangerous to repeat such policies here in Rwanda or elsewhere. I am convinced that over the short or midterm period, interest rates will decline to more manageable levels and that market forces will drive rates down.

It will be fifty years this December since Bank of Kigali’s incorporation, in 1966; how do you see the bank evolving while ensuring it provides competitive services in all major aspects, over the five decades?

It is a great consideration because surely at 56-years old, today, I will not be here in five decades; it is the work that we do today, the steps that we take, the things that we do and the energy that we invest which will determine that outcome. Miklos Dietz, Global Head of Banking Strategy for McKinsey, has said that banks will change more in the next ten years than in the previous three hundred years. It means that today we can have an impact that is truly transformational more so than at any other time in the history of Banking and Finance. But it also means that we have to get it right because the price for getting it wrong is unthinkable. So a great deal of responsibility rests on our shoulders. For me, it is very exciting. I know we are going to get it right, it is absolutely thrilling and at the core of it is serving our customers and making sure that we provide the best service at the best price at the best value in the most efficient way possible. If we do that and if we continue to do that in 50, 150 or even 250 years from now, I believe that we will be a very dominant player in this market and beyond. It is also extremely fulfilling to know that we can have such a positive impact on the lives of our customers.

Yet there are terrifying headlines about banking, almost daily, in the region and beyond. Lately, seemingly robust banks have been in trouble, Chase Bank in Kenya, Crane Bank in Uganda, the scum at Fargo, all these incidents obviously hurt the banking industry whose business is founded on absolute confidence; so how do you keep customers trust in spite of the negative headlines about the sector?

It is simple.We must keep doing the things that made us great, that is, we serve our customers with respect, with integrity and we keep true to our values and we never forget from where we came and where we want to go; it is about character, integrity and ethics.

Your last remarks?


It is been a great fifty years for this bank and I am honoured and proud to make my small contribution and to be part of this wonderful team. Much of our growth has been realised in the last two decades thanks to the unity and stability under President Paul Kagame’s inspirational and amazing leadership. The President’s vision for the East African Community to promote a free trade zone that will ultimately one day even share a common currency is a great aspirational goal.


Banki ya Kigali ifite gahunda yo guca ikoreshwa ry’impapuro habungabungwa ibidukikije

Yanditswe kuya 22-10-2016

Banki ya Kigali yatangaje ko ifite gahunda yo guca impapuro mu kazi kayo ka buri munsi, mu rwego rwo kugabanya ibiti byangirika mu gihe zikorwa no kurengera ibidukikije muri rusange.

Umuyobozi w’iyi Banki, Dr.Diane Karusisi, yabitangaje ubwo abakozi bayo, Minisitiri w’Umutungo Kamere(Ubutaka, amashyamba, ibidukikije n’ubucukuzi bw’amabuye y’agaciro), Dr Vincent Biruta n’abaturage bo mu murenge wa Karangazi, bateraga ibiti 1000 mu gitondo cyo kuri uyu wa Gatandatu, tariki ya 22 Ukwakira 2016, mu rwego rwo kwizihiza isabukuru y’imyaka 50 iyi Banki imaze ikora.

Diane Karusisi, yavuze ko kugira ngo iki kigo gikomeze gutera imbere n’igihugu muri rusange, hakenewe ko habungwabungwa ibidukikije.

Yagize ati ” Turi kwizihiza imyaka 50 Banki ya Kigali imaze ikora, ariko twasanze kugira ngo irusheho gutera imbere ari uko twabungabunga ibidukikije. Twifuje gufatanya na Leta n’abandi bafatanyabikorwa kugira ngo turebe ko ikirere cyacu cyarushaho kuba cyiza.”

Yongeyeho ati “ Muri Banki dukoresha impapuro byinshi kandi tuzi aho ziva, dufite gahunda yo guca ikoreshwa ryazo muri banki yacu tugakoresha uburyo bw’ikoranabuhanga, bwaba ubwa mudasobwa cyangwa telefoni.

Minisitiri w’Umutungo Kamere ( Ubutaka, amashyamba, ibidukikije n’ubucukuzi bw’amabuye y’agaciro), Dr Vincent Biruta na we wari witabiriye uwo muhango, yavuze ko ashimira BK by’Umwihariko kuko ngo ari cyo kigo cyonyine cyigenga kibashije kwibwiriza gutera ibiti ntawe ubigisabye.

Yagize ati “ Ni ubwambere ikigo cyikorera gikoze gahunda nk’iyi, atari Minisiteri y’Umutungo kamere yabibasabye, atari Inama y’Abaminisitiri yabibasabye, bo ubwabo bakicara bakavuga bati ’tugiye kwizihiza isabukuru y’imyaka 50 dute?’, kuyizihiza rero batera amashyamba ni ikintu cyiza cyane.”

Minisitiri Biruta, yavuze ko Minisiteri y’Umutungo kamere na Banki ya Kigali, bazakomeza gukurikirana ibiti byatewe kugira ngo bizakure neza.

Banki ya Kigali iri kwizihiza imyaka 50 imaze ishinzwe, ni muri urwo rwego yahisemo kubikora itera amashyamba mu rwego rwo kubungabunga ibidukikije. Uyu munsi yateye ibiti 1000, muri gahunda bafite yo gutera ibiti ibihumbi 150.

Gahunda iyi banki ifite yo guca impapuro mu kazi kayo, yayitangiye ubwo yatangiza gahunda yo kubitsa no kubikuza hakoreshejwe ikarita y’ikoranabuhanga no gukoresha telefoni mu bikorwa bya Banki bise Mobile Banking.

Umuyobozi Mukuru wa BK, Dr. Diane Karusisi

“BK is opening branches across the country, and we have realised that a big number of our clients depends on cultivation, which is also supported by forests,” Karusisi noted.

Minisitiri w'Umutungo Kamere, Dr.Vincent Biruta










 “Trees have crosscutting benefits to citizens and financial institutions in terms of raw materials and good working environment. When people are negatively affected, we too are affected because we can lose our clients,” she said.



 “It is the first time to see a private institution celebrate such an important day by doing a good act like this (planting trees) without any call from the Ministry of Natural Resources or cabinet,” Minister Biruta said. 

Rwanda: growth through resilience, commitment and innovation


PUBLISHED: August 01, 2016


Dr Diane Ngendo Karusisi

CEO of Bank of Kigali

Rwanda’s current investment climate comes under the scrutiny of Bank of Kigali’s CEO, Dr Diane Ngendo Karusisi, who points out that foreign investors coming in is the fastest way for the country to grow its economy and realize its development ambitions. The head of the largest commercial bank in Rwanda also highlights the importance of supporting the nation’s SMEs, its relations with the US, and how the international community should view the country today.  


We are experiencing rising momentum in Africa as many investors are looking at opportunities on the continent. What would you say is attracting the attention of global investors?

I think the demographics of Africa, with such a large and young population, makes it attractive to investors, as Africa is potentially a very big consumer market. We have young people who are more educated, more connected to the world, and more technology savvy; this provides a significant workforce that is ready to produce and add value, hence an extra incentive for investors.


It is the youngest continent in the world and it is projected to boast the largest labor force globally. What are the challenges and how should they be addressed?

The main challenge might be education; we want to make these young people productive so we need to invest in an education system that actually empowers them. The traditional education model is very expensive, but today with these IT solutions we can have schools and universities connected and people getting knowledge in a very effective and efficient way.


A crucial priority for the continent is regional integration. The largest untapped market for Africa and its biggest opportunity is right on its doorstep. What are Rwanda's efforts in order to increase the much needed regional integration?

For investors, considering Africa as one single market is more attractive than looking at individual countries. Africans today understand that opportunities are first with our neighbors. We know that intra-Africa trade is the lowest when compared to other regional blocks – it averages 16%, while it stands at 70% in Europe and 50% in Asia. We need to reduce barriers. This is what we are doing in the East African Community; we are developing an integrated market of more than 150 million people. Investors that setup shop in Rwanda gain access to the Tanzanian market or the Ugandan market and more. Also, Rwanda recently re-joined ECCAS, the Economic Community of Central African States. We want to be the hub for people coming from the East to the West of Africa, want to connect these two parts of the world, the Anglophone Africa and the Francophone Africa. Being bilingual and being in the center of Africa, we believe we can achieve that mission to connect both parts of Africa and trade more amongst those African countries.


How would you describe Rwanda’s current investment climate?

In the financial sector, doing business has been significantly facilitated. For example, the land information system in Rwanda in fully automated with a unique identifier for every parcel of land in the country. As a result, land registration and transfer is done online in a simple and efficient way. This has significantly facilitated the mortgage market as banks can easily mortgage properties and provide long-term financing for owners. Also commercial courts introduced in 2008 have hugely supported businesses in reducing uncertainty and improving predictability. Commercial cases and disputes are now settled efficiently and fairly quickly, and the business community appreciates this.


How would you describe Rwanda’s finance sector?

Financial services are indeed crucial to any economy. Growth and development happen when entrepreneurs and private companies innovate, produce and add value, and create jobs. The government’s role is to facilitate by establishing an enabling environment for business. Financial services can be considered as the lifeblood for business, as entrepreneurs need financing to develop projects, produce, process food, create jobs, etc. A well-functioning financial industry is always required to efficiently channel savings to investments and hence fuel development.

In Rwanda, the financial industry is still fairly small, with a nascent capital market, and the banking industry well capitalized but unable to provide sufficient financing for development. Rwanda wants to have a big airport, and a railway connecting the country to the region’s major ports, but we cannot rely only on Rwandans’ savings. This is where foreign investors come in because this is the fastest way for us to grow our economy and to reach our ambitions. As such, the local private sector is willing to partner with foreign investors to leverage our local business knowledge and further support growth.


Bank of Kigali is the first Rwandan company and bank to be rated by a credit rating agency, but it exceeds the Rwandan market as it has been named best East African Bank for several years, amongst other awards. What are the strategic pillars on which your approach is based to excel at the regional level?

Bank of Kigali is the largest commercial bank in Rwanda, and one of the few local companies that are listed on the Rwandan Stock Exchange. Obtaining a rating is helpful mainly for our international investors, who require this kind of information to make their investment decisions.

Today, the bank’s market remains Rwanda, financing businesses and people in Rwanda. We believe that excelling in our home market is a prerequisite to doing well in the region and beyond. Our strategy is simple; it is to remain open and flexible, because this is what business people want. We want to be at the forefront of innovation and always provide the best banking products in the market. We are constantly improving our IT systems to make sure we serve our customers in a safe and efficient manner. We are committed to this country and to Rwandans, which is why the bank is investing in systems and expanding its branch network to support financial inclusion efforts.


You just mentioned another important topic, financial inclusion. How is Bank of Kigali working to enhance financial inclusion?

Technology is a key ingredient for banks and other service providers as it allows us to reach people in areas that are otherwise physically hard to reach. In addition, we have partnerships in the pipeline with various telecommunication companies to enable people to open a bank account with their mobile phone and access a number of money services from their mobile phones. We are investing in technology to stay close to our people.


Speaking about commitment to the country, SMEs account for almost 20% of your key segments. What are the services you offer Rwanda’s SMEs?

We have a wide range of products and services that we offer them, including investment loans, working capital, stock loans and trade finance. We also provide support with professional advice and financial literacy, in particular in the micro and SME sector. We want to walk our customers through from being micro enterprises to larger companies. It gives us a lot of pride when we see small businessmen and women grow and support their communities. It shows us that we are doing the right thing, transforming people’s lives financially.


We know you support many social projects in different sectors such as education and environmental conservation. What would you say is the responsibility of big companies, big brands such as Bank of Kigali, towards its communities?

We want to show our communities that we are not only in business; we are also working to promote the communities in which we work. We know that when communities are not doing well, the bank cannot strive. We have a number of projects in education, support for vulnerable households, and environmental conservation.

Regarding climate change, we believe that every person and business has a role to play. We want to make sure our country becomes climate resilient, especially as agriculture remains the backbone of our economy. For instance, we have recently partnered with a local conservation association to plant over 150,000 trees over the next three years in one of the districts of Rwanda.


With a 34.4% market share of total assets and in this year’s Q1 you already achieved a 15% rise in profits, what is Bank of Kigali’s expectations for this financial year?

We want to consolidate our market leadership by continuing to create value for our shareholders with a return on equity around 20-23%; our strategy is to continue innovating and to grow in line with the country’s development ambitions. We are developing new services, opening new branches this year to better serve our existing customers, and also to grow our customer base.


Human resource development is also a focal point of your strategy, and as you recently said you will continue investing in your people. Having well over 1,000 employees, how are you helping them to develop their capabilities?

Banking is a people-to-people service, so getting and retaining talent is key. We have a number of training programs that our members of staff undergo because we want them to grow as people, professionals and future leaders. We make them work in different areas to give them greater knowledge of the bank. We put a lot of emphasis in customer service, responsiveness and professionalism.


Following the recent visit from the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the US said Rwanda is a strategic ally to enhance trade in the region. What is your assessment of the relations between Rwanda and the US and how could they be enhanced also?

From where I sit, I believe commercial relations between Rwanda and the US are good. We have seen American investors in Rwanda involved in projects that are critical to its development, including power generation and others. Rwanda offers a very good investment environment with zero tolerance towards corruption as well as a very good quality of life in Rwanda with security and safety. One way to enhance Rwanda-US relationships is to enhance the information flow between the two countries, and the visit by the US Secretary of Commerce was a very good initiative in that direction.


Prior to joining Bank of Kigali, you were the Head of Strategy and Policy and Chief Economist at the Office of the President. What has been the biggest challenge you had to face?

As anyone would expect, serving a Head of State is very demanding as it requires you to remain well informed and focused to be able to continuously provide critical analysis almost in real time to support the President’s decision making. Our President is a visionary and forward-looking leader who always thinks of what’s next, and what can be done better to improve the livelihoods of Rwandans. The team supporting him is always required to be educated on new trends, and get reliable information to assess the implementation of government programs and policies – this was very challenging but also instructive and fulfilling.


Which concepts would you like people in the international community to associate Rwanda with?

Resilience, commitment and innovation; some 22 years ago, Rwanda was a shattered country known for death, extreme poverty and despair. Today, Rwanda is a thriving nation, and this is a testimony to what people can achieve together, with commitment.

Rwandan companies to benefit from new Rwf48bn lending programme


PUBLISHED: July 25, 2016

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to support a new lending initiative by Bank of Kigali to back private sector investment across Rwanda.

  • According to a statement, the EIB will provide €28m (approx Rwf24 billion) alongside another €28m to be provided by Bank of Kigali for the nationwide programme. 

    This represents the first Rwandan operation under the EIB’s second East and Central Africa Private Finance Facility, a €230-million regional lending scheme that supports private sector investment in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The European Investment Bank is Europe’s long-term lending institution, owned directly by the 28 European Union member states and the world’s largest international public bank.

    “Rwanda’s medium term goal is to build a private sector led economy, support job creation and ultimately transform people’s livelihoods. This, to us is a very important transaction that will back Bank of Kigali’s efforts of expanding access to finance for private investment; we are looking forward to working closely with the European Investment Bank,” Dr. Diane Karusisi, CEO Bank of Kigali is quoted in the statement as saying.

    Speaking on behalf of the European bank, Pim van Ballekom, the EIB Vice President responsible for Rwanda said it was a privilege for them to be part of the programme.

    “We are pleased to build on our strong track record in East Africa through this new initiative that will unlock economic opportunities and create jobs across Rwanda. Bank of Kigali has been recognised for innovation and commitment to financial inclusion and this new partnership reflects our shared desire to support private sector investment essential for economic growth in Rwanda,” said Ballekom.

    Micheal Ryan, the Head of Delegation of the EU to Rwanda pledged continued collaboration between the EU and Rwanda’s partners to spur economic development in the country.

    Under the new initiative, private sector entrepreneurs and companies will be able to use loans in Rwandan francs to invest and expand activities across a range of sectors.


Bank of Kigali Scoops Rwanda's Best Bank Award At Euromoney Excellency Awards 2016



By Triphomus Muyagu


Bank of Kigali (BK) has been announced as Rwanda's best bank at the Euromoney Awards presented in London on Wednesday.

According to Euromoney, an English-language monthly magazine focused on business and finance, BK was awarded as the largest lender to the small and medium enterprises (SME) segment in Rwanda where its SME loan book rose to Rwf 69.7 billion.

Yamina Karitanyi, the high commissioner of Rwanda to the United Kingdom (U.K) received the award on behalf of BK. "Well done BK for Rwanda's best bank award. Rwanda High Commissioner to UK was humbled to receive the award on your behalf," Karitanyi tweeted.


Euromoney Awards for Excellence was launched in 1992 and now it's in its 25th year. The awards were the first of their kind in the global financial publishing industry.

Euromoney's Awards for Excellence cover global categories, best-in-class awards in all regions and the best banks in close to 100 countries around the world.


Bank of Kigali hails post-liberation

political stability for strong growth



Today in history, the sound of gunfire faded; the liberation army had triumphed over the genocidal forces but there was no jubilation for although they had won the battle, the real war had just begun to reunite the country for nation rebuilding; it would take longer to accomplish.

Beyond the loss of over a million lives, the war left the Rwandan economy in shambles with all key sectors including banking having come to a grinding halt; average economic growth between 1990 and 1994 was a double digit-negative number of 11.4 percent.

Poverty was deep rooted with 78 percent of the country’s population living in dire paucity; this was reflected in the wealthy of the nation whose GDP worth fell from US$3 billion in 1990 to less than US$2 billion in 1994.

With such a situation at hand, clearly, there was never going to be any honeymoon for the liberators; everything was broken and needed fixing; the economy needed saving but it would have to start with helping the people pick themselves up from the ground.

Impressive progress

“Today as we mark twenty two years since liberation, it is more of an opportunity for us to take stock of progress made than a celebration, because in the race to development, there is no finish line, we must keep running,” said Bank of Kigali CEO Dr. Diane Karusisi.

Dr. Karusisi says Bank of Kigali is one of the country’s leading symbols of the liberation’s success stories; as the Bank prepares to mark its 50th anniversary this December, it is worth noting that its most important growth has been recorded in the last two decades.

“The Bank owes its impressive growth in the last two decades to the peace and stability that has prevailed in the country since national liberation,” said Karusisi.

This year’s liberation theme, ‘together we proper’ is therefore not only relatable to individual success stories but also corporate growth and an institution like Bank of Kigali, that thrives to financially transform the lives of its customers, testifies to.

Lawson Naibo, Bank of Kigali’s Chief Operations Officer says that the Bank’s business growth over the last two decades couldn’t have been possible without the government’s enabling macro-economic policies.

“Thanks to this growth, Bank of Kigali is among the country’s largest tax payers and in terms of our core business, we account for over 30 percent of all lending to the country’s private sector,” said Naibo.

As a long term strategy to achieving middle income status, Rwanda wants to grow a private sector driven economy; this, according to Naibo requires facilitating the private sector to access credit and the Bank is doing a commendable job in that regard.

Indeed, the revival of the banking sector and its increased lending to the private investment has helped drive the Rwandan economy to recovery with; between 1995 and 2014 average growth was 9.8 percent with GDP surging to almost US$8 billion from less than US$2 billion in 1994.

Poverty levels have also significantly dropped from 44.9 percent in 2011 to 39.1 percent in 2014 and extreme poverty from 24.1 percent to 16.3 percent, according to the latest Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey. 

Enabling banking products

As Rwanda undergoes economic transformation with people’s incomes and lifestyles improving, Bank of Kigali aims at developing innovative products that best respond to the new needs of its clients such as electronic/internet banking services that foster mobile financial services.

“Our internet banking subscribers have grown from 176 in 2006 to almost 10000 subscribers and we now have over 300, 000 customers using mobile banking, thanks to deep mobile phone usage penetration,” said Yvon Nshimwe, BK’s Electronic Banking manager.

The Bank’s ATM network today stands at 89 facilities from just six in 2006 and in a bid to promote a cashless economy, the Bank has also deployed over 850 point of sale (POS) machines to enable Rwandans use their cards to pay for items at shopping centers.

Arnold Ndibo is BK’s Card Business manager; he says the Bank offers all internationally recognizable cards including MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards.

“With these cards you don’t need to keep a wallet full of cash, all one does is swipe to make payments and it comes with benefits as you not only build a strong credit history but also earn loyalty points,” said Ndibo adding that the Bank is currently developing a corporate credit card.

Today, 89 percent of Rwanda’s adult population has access to financial services according to the latest FinScope survey against the government’s target of 80 percent set for 2017.

Robinson Mbae, BK’s Agency Banking manager says Bank of Kigali’s agents numbering over 1080 and a fleet of mobile banking vans, have played a key role in taking the bank’s financial services to Rwandans in hard to reach areas.

“The BK-Yacu network has made our services accessible anywhere in Rwanda; with BK Money, our customers can send money from their BK-account to any registered phone number. And through our BK-push-pull service, customers can make transfers between their bank accounts and mobile money wallets across all three networks,” said Mbae.

Beyond its core business of lending money, Bank of Kigali has a robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy through which the Bank gives back to the community.

“Our CSR strategy is anchored on four main pillars which are promoting education, health, fighting poverty as well as conserving the environment,” said Dr. Shivon Byamukama, BK’s head of Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary.


BK to plant one million trees in climate change mitigation effort




Dr. Diane Karusisi Bank of Kigali's Chief Executive Officer (L) exchange documents with Jean Batiste Mutabaruka, CAE's Principal after the signing ceremony yesterday in Kigali. (T.Kisambira)

Bank of Kigali says it will invest part of its annual operations budget in supporting efforts by a local non-profit environmental conservation organisation to plant one million trees in Nyagatare District as part of activities to mark 50 years, this December, since it was incorporated in 1966.

“Our Board, Management and staff understand that climate change is real and as a socially responsible organisation, we are taking a position at the frontline in the battle to conserve the environment,” Dr Diane Karusisi Bank of Kigali’s Chief Executive Officer told the media at the Bank’s headquarters in Kigali, yesterday.

The bank’s announcement is expected to excite the country’s environment conservationists and probably inspire more corporate involvement in efforts to avert negative effects of climate change on local communities.

Bank of Kigali’s efforts will kick off with the planting of more than 150, 000 trees over the next three years through a partnership with Compagnie Agricole Environment Association (CAE), a local non-profit organisation with which a memorandum of understanding was signed.

“Today we are in this boardroom but come September, we shall be in the fields for the first phase of planting of over 50, 000 trees with more to be planted subsequently,” said Dr Karusisi.

Dr. Karusisi  (L) signs documents with CAE's Mutabaruka yesterday in Kigali.

Jean Batiste Mutabaruka, CAE’s Principal, said his organisation plans to plant one million trees in Kahi Cell, Karangazi Sector in Nyagatare District and said the partnership with Bank of Kigali will boost chances of achieving that target.

“We are delighted that Bank of Kigali, as an industry leader, is setting the precedent of supporting noble local causes like ours, to conserve the environment in which the communities, with which they work, actually live,” said Mutabaruka.

Giving back

In December, Bank of Kigali will mark 50 years since it was incorporated in 1966 and tree planting is among the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities that have been chosen to celebrate the milestone as well as give back to the communities in which the bank has thrived, BK officials say.

Kenneth Agutamba, Communications and Marketing manager of Bank of Kigali speaks to media during the press conference yesterday. (Photos by T.Kisambira) 

Dr Shivon Byamukama, the Bank’s Head of Corporate Affairs, said the bank is committed to transforming lives of Rwandans through giving back to the community and currently devotes 1 per cent of the annual operating budget to Corporate Social Responsibility.

“Our CSR activities focus on providing access to education, promoting community health, environmental sustainability and poverty eradication,” she said.

Bank of Kigali was incorporated on December 22, 1966 and is among the key symbols of Rwandan resilience in the country’s turbulent history that climaxed with the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed the lives of over a million people.

Over the last five decades, the bank has enjoyed impressive growth across all major performance indicators and is Rwanda’s largest, by Total Assets, with 33.0 per cent of the market share as of March 2016.

The bank says it is proud to use its position as a corporate leader in the banking industry to address some of the prevalent issues that are affecting communities in which businesses operate.

For instance, the bank’s intervention in tree planting efforts is informed by recent environmental research that indicates that worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400 per cent in the past 40 years and 90 per cent of all manufactured paper is made from trees.

In Rwanda, the importance of trees can’t be over emphasised, especially with recent cases of flooding and landslides that have claimed dozens of lives and destroyed property.

According to a 2007 national forest inventory, illegal tree cutting, especially for charcoal burning, was identified as the leading threat to Rwanda’s trees contributing 78.3 per cent.

A local resident of Rusororo carries a tree. Bank of Kigali to plant one million trees in climate change mitigation effort.

It is such statistics against the environment that Bank of Kigali says it wants to help overturn.

“In 2010, the bank introduced electronic-based bank statements and use of electronic channels such as mobile and internet banking for the customers to access their accounts without having to print statements, hence saving paper. We want to take a step further by planting trees,” said Dr Karusisi.

She added that by planting trees, “we are not only conserving the environment but also saving lives because the negative consequences of deforestation, such as irregular rainfall patterns and global warming, actually affect businesses and our customers.”

Currently, over 60 per cent of Bank of Kigali’s banking services are technology delivered and the bank’s strategy is to enhance the use of technology in offering its services, according to officials.

Rwanda has committed to increase the national forest cover to 30 per cent of the total land area by 2018.

It is estimated that over 1.6 billion people globally rely on benefits that forests offer, including food; unfortunately, an estimated 13 million hectares of forests, for instance, were lost each year between 2000 and 2010 due to deforestation.

BK backs Kamonyi Genocide survivors with hybrid cows, honours fallen staff




Bank of Kigali employees led by Chief Executive Officer Dr. Diane Karusisi braved a Saturday afternoon drizzle in a walk to remember the Bank’s fifteen workers killed 22 years ago during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. 

The walk that started at Kinamba trading centre was joined by workers of Kobil-Rwanda led by Country Manager Jolly Kalisa whose firm, in a show of corporate solidarity collaborated with the Bank in its 22nd commemoration activities that started with the donation of cows to genocide survivors in Kamonyi district.

The procession of over 600 workers of both organizations then marched to the Kigali Genocide Memorial where a vigil was held.

Video clips of the workers who lost their lives during the genocide were played during the vigil prompting silent tears among relatives and colleagues. 
An official from the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) delivered a message that placed leaders at the fore of promoting harmonious living.

Bank of Kigali workers were joined by Kobil-Rwanda staff (grey T-shirts) in a walk to remember the Bank's employees killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The CNLG official noted that the genocide was a result of poisonous talk by leaders whose words “impregnated people with hate and they later gave birth to genocide” whose consequences are rued even after twenty two years.

Pastor Jean Marie Ruzindana then said a prayer, one based on testimony. He was a teenager living at Kicukiro trading centre when the genocide started. His family was among many others of persecuted Tutsis that piled into the ETO Kicukiro, hoping they had found a safe sanctuary.

But they were wrong.

The peace keeping forces guarding the school caved in to pressure from the genocidal government and withdrew leaving thousands of helpless Rwandan Tutsi to face the cruelty of blood thirsty machete wielding killers.

The little Ruzindana tried to force his teenage body inside a bag of a fleeing UN peacekeeper but he failed to fit in; dejected, the boy looked on as the speeding truck carrying the peace-keepers disappeared in a distance.

Before the dust of the speeding truck could settle, the massacre began at the school. Thousands of helpless Tutsi were cruelly hacked by machetes, their blood forming a river as it flowed out of veins of the victims, every drop draining the life out of their shattered bodies.

These were painful deaths for pointless reasons. But the young Ruzindana somehow survived something he attributes to a divine veil that miraculously protected him throughout the ordeal that claimed his family.

Like many other children his age, he all of a sudden was rendered an orphan, without anyone to fend for him, he narrated how he resorted to drugs, smoked weed to blow away his sorrows until his life turned around after getting saved.

As a pastor today, he uses his childhood experience to comfort other survivors and inspire courage, hope and determination to live life in spite of its trials.

“That my friends, is a story we are all familiar with; the death of our loved ones might prompt us to doubt God but the fact that some of us survived is a testimony that there is divine power that works in ways we can’t fully fathom,” Pastor Ruzindana as he concluded his sermon.

It was a somber mood as Bank of Kigali’s Dr. Karusisi and Kobil’s Kalisa led their staff in lighting candles in memory of not only fallen colleagues but also other victims of the genocide.

BK CEO Dr. Diane Karusisi hands over a cow to one of the Genocide survivors in Kamonyi District, on Saturday.

The BK CEO, in her message reiterated Bank of Kigali’s commitment to supporting the families of the staff who lost their lives during the Genocide against the Tutsi and to ensure that even in their absence, they benefit from the growth of an institution that they once served.

“As a Bank, we also commit ourselves to supporting government efforts in fighting the genocide ideology as a way of rebuilding our country,” she said.

A representative of the families of the Bank employees who lost their lives during the genocide against the Tutsi thanked Bank of Kigali’s management for the committed support to relatives of the former employees.

Supporting Kamonyi survivors

Earlier in the day, a delegation of Bank of Kigali and Kobil-Rwanda employees headed to Kamonyi district where they together donated 21 hybrid cows, built 21 kraals to twenty one different beneficiaries who are also genocide survivors.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Bank of Kigali, in collaboration with CNLG, every year selects needy families and supports them with cows, in line with the President’s ‘Giri’nka’ initiative that is aimed at transforming people’s lives financially.

This year’s needy families were selected from two villages of Rugarika and Gacurabwenge located in Rwanda’s Southern Province district of Kamonyi.

Each of the recipients, according to the Bank officials, will be helped to construct a kraal and shall receive medicine for half a year to ensure that the animals are kept in good health.

Bank of Kigali’s Dr. Karusisi noted that giving a cow is not only an important gesture in the Rwandan culture but also is in line with the Bank’s goal of financially transforming lives.

“If well taken care of, a single cow can turn around the fortunes of a poor family, from providing food to generating a small income that can support a household’s other basic needs,” she said.

That is what Jeannette Mukamutako, one of the beneficiaries, hopes to achieve with her cow. She expressed her pleasure noting that the cow will create a lasting bond between herself and Bank of Kigali.

“Although I don’t have a bank account at the moment, I believe this cow will give me an income to open one in the near future and deepen my relationship with Bank of Kigali and its caring management,” said Mukamutako.

The giveaway was presided over by Aimable Udahemuka, the Kamonyi district Mayor. He noted that Bank of Kigali’s support was in line with the district’s efforts of re-stocking the area that was well known for cattle grazing before the genocide.

“The challenge for us all, the district, the giver and the given is to ensure that the cows receive good care if they are to serve the desired purpose. As a district, we shall play our part, with partners, to regularly supervise the beneficiaries and support them where they need help,” he said.

Equity Price List

BOK 290 290 290
BRL 150 150 150
NMG 1200 --- ---
KCB 340 --- ---
USL 104 --- ---
EQTY 350 --- ---
CTL 54 54 54

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