Lunch with our leaders

Lunch with our Leader talks to Sheel Gill

In 2013, KPMG Africa Lunch with our Leader – a weekly LinkedIn discussion group creating an opportunity for you to engage in meaningful discussion with our leadership – featured one of KPMG Africa’s finest, with 20 years of experience: Sheel Gill, Director of KPMG Kenya.

Sheel’s discussion focused on her vast experience in Financial Services and her thoughts on ‘African opportunity’. Sheel returned to Kenya to co-head the KPMG Transactions & Restructuring team in Nairobi. She brought with her a wealth of Transaction Advisory experience to the Pan African KPMG Transaction Advisory team.

Having worked on sizable deals in Europe and the UK, across all sectors, Sheel is truly passionate about delivering superior quality advice to KPMG clients, and her passion and enthusiasm is known to be contagious.

Below are excerpts of some of her answers to her audience during the ‘lunch’ … enjoy!

Restrictions on exchange control in Rwanda

Jabu Malele, COO at NestLife Assurance, kicked off the discussion:

Q: I would like to know as to what are the requirements and restrictions of trading with Rwandan entities if you are a foreign entity, especially on exchange control and repatriation of funds?

Katherine Miles, Africa Industry Executive at KPMG Africa, responded, saying there is no restriction on exchange control and repatriation of funds from Rwanda…

A: As long as relevant taxes are paid, the company or individual is free to expatriate profits after taxes. Any currency may be used as a reporting currency in Rwanda but taxes have to be paid in Rwandan Francs. This is translated using the National Bank ruling rates.

Josephat Mwaura, CEO at KPMG East Africa, supported this, noting that Rwanda is a member of the East African Community and possibly one of the easiest countries to do business with…

It has very good rankings all round – read this release from the Rwanda Development Board. There is virtually no difference between local and foreign companies which need to register with the Rwanda Development Board. Once you are issued a license and Tax Identification Number (TIN), you are ready to do business.

Doing business in East Africa

Q: Shelley Alberts, Manager in the High Growth Market Africa Region at KPMG, asked Sheel what the biggest challenges of doing business in East Africa were, and Sheel responded saying:

A: Typical issues one finds here are around lack of transparency, social inequality, and, needless to say, the traffic!

Expanding business into Nigeria

Q: Heleen Botha, Operational Manager of Reporting at Munich Reinsurance Company of Africa Limited, took the discussion in a different direction:

A big constraints for expanding business into Nigeria is around the Domestication regulations. Is the Nigerian market considering relaxing these restrictions to allow for economic and business growth?

A: Nigeria has enacted rules and regulations to incentivize entry into the economy and markets here and to provide State backed guarantees including tax incentives to qualifying investments. There are a few specialized areas that encourage investment to include Nigerian participation, such as oil and gas servicing. Beyond these, though, there are no statutory restrictions on percentage of foreign ownership or foreign management of businesses in Nigeria.” ~ Sheel Gill

The African diaspora

Q: Richard Michael Walusimbi, Audit Manager at KPMG, commented on the value of the meeting of great minds to share experiences…

A: I strongly believe that the citizens of Africa returning from the Diaspora should leverage their lessons learnt abroad to better Africa. Being back on the continent is exciting – the buzz around Africa is great; feels like the M&A boom days of Europe.

Richard agreed, noting that the opportunities exist, but the business landscape is quite unstable:

“I also think the mindset of an African entrepreneur needs a fundamental shift – business acumen, trust, discipline, respecting the business as a separate entity… I guess this can help businesses to stop going under within 5-10 years of existence.

On working in Europe

Q: Moses Kgosana, Chief Executive at KPMG in South Africa, asked Sheel how it feels to be back on the warm shores of East Africa after working in Europe for many years.

A: It is certainly warm here! I have worked in Europe for 17 years – 11 in UK and 6 in Germany, I had the best of both worlds as I was in the midst of the M&A boom years and now I’m doing it for the third time – but back at home. My biggest challenge was really to get used to the speed of internet. As I was coming home, moving back was really seamless, compared to when I moved to Germany – not knowing a single word of German…now that was challenging. The M&A boom we are seeing here and a warmer family life brought me back home.” ~ Sheel Gill

 

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David Okwara

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