Politics, World, Africa

Morocco buys stake in Rwandan bank

Move comes amid increased Moroccan engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa

Morocco buys stake in Rwandan bank King Mohammed VI of Morocco on his state visit to Rwanda meets President Paul Kagame on October 19 2016, Kigali Rwanda


By Ivan Nganwa

Kigali, RWANDA

Attijariwafa Bank, a Moroccan lender, signed a deal Wednesday with Rwanda to acquire 76 percent of a controlling stake in Catholic Church-owned Compagnie Generale de Banque (Cogebanque).

The move underlines Morocco’s increased strategic expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa after decades of estrangement with the region.

Few details were provided but Rwanda Development Board (RDB) CEO Serge Kamuhinda confirmed the deal.

Attijariwafa is Africa’s third-largest bank and is owned by the Moroccan monarch, while Cogebanque is Rwanda’s second-largest by assets, according to the National Bank of Rwanda.

Cogebanque grew its assets base by 32.8 percent and net lending assets by 20.1 percent last year.

Wendesday’s development follows King Mohammed VI’s state visit to Rwanda where he met President Paul Kagame and signed 19 political and economic bilateral ties.

The king’s three-nation tour to Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia is the first of its kind since his 1999 coronation, and comes at a time when Morocco has expressed willingness to rejoin the African Union after a 32-year absence.

This is the second time Morocco has taken an interest in Rwanda's financial sector.

In 2014 Saham Finances SA, a unit of Morocco-based investment firm Saham Group, acquired a 66 percent controlling stake in local insurance company Corar-AG.

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