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Rwandan bank becomes first East African bank licensed in Kenya

The Bank of Kigali, a listed Rwandan bank, has been licensed to open an office in Kenya, becoming the first East African bank to join the list of seven international banks here, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said Tuesday.

The Bank of Kigali Limited engages mainly in personal banking, business banking and micro lending. It has forty branches in Rwanda and is listed in the Rwanda Stock Exchange.

“The entry of Bank of Kigali into the Kenyan market is timely given the on-going East African Community integration process. With the on-going East African regional integration, Bank of Kigali’s presence in Kenya stands to greatly benefit from the business opportunities that are expected to increase tremendously across the East African Community member states,” the CBK said.

The announcement of the Bank of Kigali’s license comes a day after a similar license was issued to the Central Bank of India, a state-owned bank with an asset base of US$50 billion. It has a branch network of over 4,200.

CBI is headquartered in Mumbai and operates largely in India, its core activities being the provision of corporate and personal banking, investment banking and treasury services.

In Africa, the Indian bank has a presence in Zambia where it operates through a subsidiary which is engaged in commercial banking, both retail and corporate.

In Kenya, under the Banking Act, a representative office of a foreign bank may engage in marketing and liaison roles in connection with the activities of its parent bank and affiliates, but is not allowed to engage in banking business.

CBI seeks to explore potential business opportunities in the country with a view to evaluating the prospects of a long-term regional presence.

Kenyan bankers say the newly branch will facilitate and support the growing trade links between Kenya and India.

The Kenyan banking sector has continued to attract increasing interest from Pan-African, regional and global banking brands.

CBK believes the entry of foreign banks into the Kenyan financial sector will promote competition and diversity of the financial products and services on offer. 


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