Counterfeit money is a problem that almost all countries deal with at one time or another, and often, all the time.
The increasing problem has greatly affected major commerce and industry sectors in the country, specifically banking and transportation.
So now it must be decided exactly where the crime begins and ends. Is it wrong to be imprisoned for unknowingly holding and using counterfeit currency, or is it the responsibility of the individual to verify authenticity?
What banking and major commercial centres need are modern detection machines, but fraudulent currency can be easily recognised even with the most low-tech of devices; hands. Workers at Forex bureaus regularly cite differing textures of tender notes when finding counterfeit currency.
Current efforts by the government must be applauded for working with international experts on how to revise the national currency. Recent redesigns of currencies in both Asia and the United States have gone a long way in fighting against counterfeiting, which destroys the economies of any business or person it touches.
A new age in Rwanda ushers in new problems and that requires new solutions. Work has been done, but the problem is far from going away and only getting worse.
There are many steps that can be taken in fighting this crime, but maybe the most important tool is awareness. Not only is it a federal offence, but money fraud, for all intents and purposes, is corruption, something which the administration has been single-minded about fighting.
Sensitisation is not the whole solution, but a big part of it. The public and private sectors need to understand that, beyond the specific loss of value in that counterfeit currency, the use of that money has a chain-effect on whichever businesses or individuals it touches.
While high-tech machines will be important tools in fighting this type of corruption, sensitisation and training of bankers, merchants and forex officers will be the first steps to eradication.