By Francis Byaruhanga
Small savings by individual citizens, including students and youth, are essential for the country to increase deposits that can be used to fund investment initiatives, Robert Mathu, the Capital Market Authority executive director, has said.
Speaking at the launch of Capital Market University Challenge 2017 on Wednesday, Mathu said savings are instrumental in driving growth and bringing down bank interest rates.
"Therefore, by saving part of your pocket money, you are building banks' capacity to support development projects, create jobs and hence spur growth," he said during the event at Adventist University of Central Africa in Masoro.
The capital market challenge is aimed at introducing the youth to the capital market to students as well as inculcating a savings culture among them.
This year's competition has two categories - quiz and essay writing - and it is being conducted under the theme, "Growing the youth through capital market". It is the 4th edition of the contest and has attracted 28 universities and other higher learning institutions. Mathu said the competition gives students an opportunity to showcase their knowledge of financial market industry and is part of the public education and awareness drive aimed at encouraging students and Rwandans generally to save and invest through the capital market.
He added that the contest also aims at interesting students in the industry "as future professionals".
Speaking at the event, Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, the CEO of the Rwanda Stock Exchange, said students are able to contribute to the country's development efforts by saving and investing through the local capital market.
"Rwanda can only become a competitive financial centre by mobilising long-term investment capital, but this cannot be achieved without involving the youth, especially students," he added.
He explained that the campaign supports government efforts toward self-reliance and domestic funds mobilisation for key development projects.
Deborah Ingabire, the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Science (AISEC) executive secretary, said financial education is essential to ensure economic inclusion and equip students with requisite skills as entrepreneurs of tomorrow," she said.
Patience Uwase, the Minister of Sports and Culture at Adventist University of Central Africa, said that saving and investing through the bourse supports initiatives geared at entrepreneurship and job-creation.
About the contest
The competition comprises of preliminary rounds at the University of Rwanda's College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine for Northern Province, as well as the College of Arts and Social Sciences in the Southern Province on May 20. University of Rwanda's Nyagatare campus will host contestants from the Eastern Province on May 20, while those from the Western Province will be at ULK Gisenyi Campus on May 24. The preliminary round for the City of Kigali is on May 26 at the Adventist University of Central Africa, Masoro Campus. The finals are slated for June 9 in Kigali.
The quiz winners (club) will get 10,000 shares of a listed company, while the essay category top prize is 5,000 shares of a listed company.
Started in 2012, the contest targets undergraduate students in universities and other higher learning institutions.