Africa Leaders Magazine

Dr. DIANE KARUSISI – CEO of Bank of Kigali

Dr. Diane Karusisi is the Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Kigali. She is a seasoned economist who has held several leadership positions in the past. Prior to joining Bank of Kigali, Diane was the Head of Strategy and Policy and Chief Economist at the office of the President’s. Diane also served at the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda where she oversaw the design and implementation of major surveys.

Dr. DIANE KARUSISI - CEO of Bank of Kigali - African Leaders Magazine

Before she moved back to Rwanda, Diane worked as a Fixed Income Portfolio Engineer at Credit Suisse in Zurich and taught statistics at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. She studied Economics majoring in Econometrics and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Fribourg. Her research areas mainly concentrated on Risk Modeling and Measurement. Her doctoral thesis entitled “Dependency in credit portfolios: Modeling with Copula Functions” was published in 2009.

Diane currently serves as non-executive director on several boards including the University of Rwanda and Rwanda Development Board.

Dr. Diane was named among the Inaugural List of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2019 by Avance Media.

In an interview with the Africa report about the Bank of Kigali raising funds to expand at home, eschewing the East African Community-focused plans of some of its regional competitors, she these words to say;

Dr. DIANE KARUSISI - CEO of Bank of Kigali - African Leaders Magazine

What do you think about Bank of Kigali’s recent performance?

Of late, the bank has grown into a group that offers financial services. Now we have a tech business, we have an insurance business and we have investment banking also. We haven’t yet released our financials for 2018 but it will be in line with the growth we have seen in the past, and we expect maybe 2019 to be a better year than 2018 because of the pipeline we have. We have a number of loans in the pipeline and the economy is actually performing very well. […] We always promise and deliver double-digit growth not only on the balance sheet but also on the bottom-line profit after tax, which is something we have delivered consistently. […] We raised capital last year, so we have more capital to deploy and that’s why we are very optimistic.

Dr. DIANE KARUSISI - CEO of Bank of Kigali - African Leaders Magazine

Your bank is getting involved in big projects. Which are most important to the bank and the country?

When you look at the past, there are iconic projects in the country like the Kigali Convention Centre – the Marriott hotel is also one of our clients – and these have changed the landscape of our country in terms of making Kigali a major ­destin­ation of conference tourism on the continent. Projects we are now financing: […] a cement plant, and cement is one of the highest import bills. We’ve seen in the past crises where people did not find cement to complete their projects, and this is one very important project for the economy that we are financing.

Dr. DIANE KARUSISI - CEO of Bank of Kigali - African Leaders Magazine

We have more capital to deploy and that’s why we’re optimistic

Obviously Bugesera airport is one new project that we are financing. We are financing a number of big power generation plants. One that we are financing is a peat-to-power plant in Gisagara. We believe these are projects that are transformational but also profitable to the bank. For example, for 2019 we are expecting new loans of about RWF180bn ($202.6m).

Dr. DIANE KARUSISI - CEO of Bank of Kigali - African Leaders Magazine

Your strategy targets Rwanda and not the region. Why?

We believe we still have the country to serve. You know, we only have less than 30% of adult people in Rwanda with bank accounts. […] We believe it is not the case where people need to go to a branch to open an account and to get services. We want to offer all the services on the phone. That’s why we are investing much money in our IT infrastructure and we want to be not only a universal bank but also a universal financial services company. We want to offer all financial services seamlessly under one brand, be it an insurance policy, be it a loan. We are looking at an investment of $10m into the changes that are required in our core banking systems, in our data infrastructure. This will be ­considerable.


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