Extend more support to financial tech startups


RE: “Kigali to host global meet on responsible, inclusive finance” (The New Times, March 3).

This conversation can never get old, as long as 76% of Africa does not have an account with a formal finance institution.

Recently, I went purchasing an affordable health insurance product for a mother and child.

Although the community based health insurance, Mutuelle de Santé, is available, the mother is not in the accepted ‘ubudehe’ categories, and mutuelle is limited to public and not private hospitals with higher service delivery standards.

The cheapest option was to pay Rwf350,000 for insurance for a year. I could only imagine someone earning Rwf300,000 (which is high income in Rwanda) and how they are able to buy such insurance.

Fortunately, I stumbled across a local telecom insurance product of paying a cost of hospitalisation fee, for a minimum of Frw1,000 mobile cash account per month, which was good but very limiting.

The financial sector needs more innovations for financial inclusivity and I do hope this conference will address this. Two Nigerian, two Kenyan and one South African fintech startups made the list to top 50 world fintech startups.

However fintech innovations need a framework in the country, and, to my admiration, RURA has already proposed a ‘regulatory sandbox policy’ (available on their website) that allows fintech startups to test their products in Rwanda, before giving them a definitive license.

Rwanda could well be the first African country to implement such a policy, which has been implemented elsewhere in the world, with Singapore being a leader in this. I hope such conferences will help to focus and support innovative financial tech startups and hopefully get them to move to Rwanda, test such ideas in the country and hopefully scale up such products.


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