Ntoudi’s interview with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson is intended to shine a spotlight on the survey, “Realising and facilitating pan-African investment” that is currently underway and aimed at the global business community.
There is no better person to discuss the issues around African investment and Rwanda’s part in making this happen than Ntoudi, a banking and finance executive.
His career has taken him to Luxembourg and Singapore – both financial centres with a broad focus and which the KIFC is now working to emulate.
There are different kinds of financial centres, Ntoudi explains, which focus on domestic, regional, global or offshore agendas.
“What we are developing for Rwanda is a hybrid model – the financial centres that are closer to us are Luxembourg and Singapore. We want to ensure we answer to the domestic agenda but, at the same time, also to the needs of the continent. In that sense our model is unique.”
What immediately puts Rwanda at an advantage in attracting business is that it is trilingual with French, English and Kinyarwanda as official languages and laws drafted in all three. It is this ease of communication which is enabling the country to turn its goal of becoming a financial centre for the whole continent into a reality.
For the centre to achieve this means meeting three key requirements, Ntoudi says.
1)Compliance; “We must align ourselves with global standards.”
2)Transparency of the legal and regulatory framework; “It is key for investors and businesses to feel and perceive predictability and quality when they use the centre.”
3)Access to talent; “We need to have the relevant professionals to answer the needs of those who want to do business.”
Ntoudi explains how the project was part of the Rwandan government’s Vision 2050 which is to increase GDP, further the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and to drive the continent-wide development agenda.
It was Rwanda’s future-focus, propelled by clear and forward-thinking leadership, Ntoudi says, that sparked his excitement in the KIFC project and drew him back to Africa.
“I was convinced that this project of an African international financial centre that is in line with global standards is possible. Today I am proud and happy to see this achievement, that already after two years of development (is becoming a reality).”
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