At this year’s edition of the All Africa Business Leaders Awards, an annual event by CNBC Africa in partnership with ABN Productions, in South Africa, Jack Nkusi Kayonga, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Bank (RDB), was named “Africa’s Young Business Leader of the Year”.
This is the second time in three months Kayonga’s managerial prowess is recognized internationally after he won a similar title in a regional competition- the East Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards–in August. All the awards are in recognition for his outstanding performance in positioning RDB to play its role as a lead development institution in Rwanda by consistently working to cause improvement in living conditions of Rwandans.
Kayonga is 36 years old and has been credited with turning round RDB’s fortunes to become by not only making it a profitable bank but also one of the best managed development finance institution in Africa. RDB was recently named the third best managed development bank in Africa out of 73 national development as well as 12 regional banks assessed by peers under the Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI).
The AADFI also upgraded RDB’s rating to A+ -the second highest rating any financial institution can attain- having demonstrated a high degree of international best practices such as governance, financial and operational standards.
As CEO, Kayonga leads a team of motivated staff that has not only expanded operations by launching new products like mortgage financing, retail banking and deposit taking, but for the first time made net profit of RWF 3.8 billion in 2011.
Kayonga’s strongest point is perhaps the way in which he has carefully directed bank’s lending to focus on areas described by the bank’s board chairman as those “with high growth potential and significant socio-economic impact, profitability not withstanding.” They include financing for teachers’ housing, life-saving equipment for health units, primary agriculture and agro-processing.
This year, the bank has invested in excess of RWF 16 billion in agriculture projects, up from RWF 4billion in 2008, to become the leading source of funds for the sector that is so critical to the country’s economic growth, yet shunned as highly risky by most commercial banks.