Financial education is one of the recognized tools to support and guide individuals’ decision-making to balance their budget, make ends meet, identify risk factors, and plan for their long-term future appropriately.
As a demand-side solution, it can complement supply-side approaches including improved regulation and consumer protection which ensure that investors are protected, well-informed, and treated fairly. It may also be used as a means of encouraging formal savings for those excluded from financial services.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN), through the Capital Market Authority (CMA) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET), started a new public education and awareness program targeting the Rwandan communities living abroad to consider saving and investment opportunities available back home through the Rwandan capital markets. So far, Rwandans living in 30 diplomatic missions from across Africa, Europe, America, Asia, and the Pacific are being reached out progressively through this particular campaign.
These sessions are being conducted virtually under the theme: “Promoting the savings and investment culture through the Rwandan capital market within the Rwandan community living abroad.” and among facilitators include the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), Rwanda National Investment Trust (RNIT), BK Capital and stock brokerage firms.
With the continued development of the capital market industry, some Rwandan companies have started enjoying the benefit of considering the Rwandan capital market as a venue to raise long-term funding for their businesses. The ongoing education and awareness programme will, among others, contribute to increased participation of the Rwandan investor base in different available capital market products.
Magnifique Migisha, the Coordinator of the ongoing public education and awareness programme at the Rwanda’s Capital Market Authority, stressed that the capital market helps to tap into savings from Rwandans living abroad communities looking for local investment opportunities, and it is the best place for them to invest in the future.
“When you buy a share of stock, you are actually buying ownership into a living company. Over time, these companies will release more products, gain more customers, increase earnings, acquire other companies, and grow,” explained Mr. Migisha.
Migisha added that “We encourage the Rwandan community living abroad to embrace the savings and investment culture by growing the country’s economy through participating in long-term investments through the Rwandan capital markets. CMA has committed to running education and awareness campaigns motivating the Rwandans living abroad to save and invest through Rwanda’s capital market, whereby the public education initiatives are meant to bridge the financial literacy gap to facilitate an interactive and educative forum to enable them to start saving and investing through the local capital market.”
The National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) puts emphasis on increasing domestic savings and positioning Rwanda as a hub for financial services while promoting investments through financial sector development.
Sandrine Maziyateke Uwimbabazi, Director of Rwanda Community Abroad (RCA) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET) noted that “The Rwandan Community Abroad (RCA) Department facilitates in encouraging all Rwandans living abroad to contribute to program implementation through MINAFFET by liaising with embassies and High Commission and RCA associations representatives.”
“The Government of Rwanda realized the important role that the Rwandan Community Abroad (RCA) can play in the development of the country. Besides the well-known role of remittances, they can act as a catalyst in bringing innovation, creating businesses, trade, and Investment as well as skills and knowledge transfer which can be an added value to the national economy,” stressed Uwimbabazi.
She added that “It is fundamental and important for the Ministry to engage and organize sustainable strategic programs and mechanisms to facilitate our RCA who are willing to contribute to their homeland in the social economic transformation journey. This focus is usually recognized on economic contributions, however, there is also increasing evidence of non-economic contributions to image building, good governance, knowledge transfers, and capacity building.”
Eric Sangwa who resides in New Zealand and participated in this campaign, noted, “We are so glad to learn a lot about Rwanda’s capital market through this campaign. Investing in the Rwandan market helps to maintain connections and ties to our mother country.”
He added, “Investing in the Rwandan capital market can provide diaspora communities with a way to support economic development in their home countries, as well as a way to potentially earn financial returns on their investments.”
The private domestic savings rate is projected to increase from 12.1% in 2017 to 23.9% by 2024. The introduction of innovative savings mobilization schemes is one of the enablers to achieve the anticipated target. Currently, there are two collective investment schemes: “RNIT Iterambere Fund” operated by Rwandan National Investment Trust (RNIT), and “Aguka Unit Trust Fund” operated by BK Capital.