KIGALI - A member of the Dutch royal family, Princess Maxima, has commended the efforts by the Rwandan government towards increasing access to financial services, especially in rural areas.
She mentioned this yesterday during her meeting with Finance Minister, John Rwangombwa, and Central Bank Governor, Francois Kanimba.
Princess Maxima, was talking about the government’s initiative to have a saving cooperative at Umurenge level with at objective to encourage saving in rural community.
The Princess, who is also a member of the United Nations Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors, stressed the role of microfinance in sustainable development.
“Strategic partnerships between corporate banks and MFIs in the financial sector can help expand access to financial products and services to those not yet served by commercial banks,” she said.
At least 100 Umurenge Saccos have already been registered with the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), as part of a government strategy to promote the savings culture.
“One size cannot fit all but very few countries can develop such an ambitious approach to increase access to financial services in rural areas,” added Princess Maxima who is in the country on a three-day working visit.
She suggested that the government should focus on mobile banking to reduce costs involved in accessing financial services.
Currently, mobile phone penetration in the country stands at 26 percent.
Princess Maxima also inquired when and how government is going to develop the possibilities of using national identity cards for financial transactions.
To this, Rwangombwa highlighted that government had planned to have the project running but did not take off due to some challenges but promised that within two years, the project would be up and running.
“Government targets the project to produce positive results on the penetration of financial services since every Rwanda has an ID and requires no bank account,” he said.
However, Rwangombwa said that financial transactions using the national ID will be optional.