IFC’s raises $5 mln in first Rwandan franc offshore bond

KIGALI, Feb 13 (Reuters) – The World Bank’s private sector arm has raised 3.5 billion Rwandan francs ($5 million) with the first offshore bond in the Rwandan currency, it said on Friday.

The landlocked central African nation of 11 million people has been attracting a steady stream of investors and firms drawn by its small but growing market, and its debut $400 million Eurobond in 2013 was heavily oversubscribed.

“It was done to create an offshore market in Rwandan francs, which hasn’t previously existed,” a spokesman for the bank’s International Finance Corp said.

The bond was a pilot project and the funds would be held as part of the IFC’s global currency holdings.

Rwanda has also been issuing local bonds to develop its tiny capital market as well as fund infrastructure projects.

IFC said the three-year bond, called ‘Twigire’ (self-reliance), has a 9.0 percent coupon and was placed with five international investors. It will be listed in Luxembourg.

“It adds that value of recognition internationally and therefore it makes it easy for us to trade bonds in Rwandan Franc in the future,” central bank Governor John Rwangombwa told a news conference.

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