Rwanda and Nigeria Seen As Africa’s Top Countries for Retailers

JOHANNESBURG—Rwanda and Nigeria are Africa’s most promising markets for global retailers, according to consulting firm A.T. Kearney, as foreign investors look at all corners of a sprawling continent where a new middle class is expected to keep growing.

“There are opportunities all over Africa,” said Mike Moriarty, a partner at A.T. Kearney and lead author of the firm’s African Retail Development Index, a ranking of some 20 countries the firm has identified as attractive to global retailers.

At the top of the list, Rwanda and Nigeria present very different opportunities and risks.

Rwanda is a small, landlocked nation of 11 million people, most of whom are poor. But under the leadership of longtime President Paul Kagame, Rwanda has developed a reputation as being one of the African countries most welcoming to foreign companies.

Nigeria, on the other hand, is a nation of some 170 million people. Many of them are destitute, but millions are making enough of an income to acquire a taste for branded foreign goods. That growing potential can make it worth braving Nigeria’s unpredictable politics and security risks, Mr. Moriarty said.

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National Bank of Rwanda Offloads Some Debts

Investors sought the most local-currency bonds in Rwanda since the central bank began selling the debt in 2008, with yields lower than Uganda as the East African nation revives issuance in francs.

The sale of 12.5 billion francs ($18 million) of three-year bonds had a coupon of 11.48 percent and a yield of 11.6 percent, the Kigali-based National Bank of Rwanda said in a statement on its website. Investors sought 40 percent more than offered, it said. Uganda’s three-year notes yielded 13.19 percent at an auction on Jan. 29, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The success of the bond is attributed to the far-reaching awareness campaign,” the Bank of Rwanda said in the statement. “The marketing strategy consisted of split roadshows covering the four provinces while at the regional level a roadshow was organized in Nairobi.”


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