Rwanda yesterday joined “Better than Cash Alliance” to accelerate digital payments.
Better Than Cash Alliance is an organisation that partners with governments, international development organisations and companies to transition from cash payments to electronic payment.
The development is expected to help people who do not have access to formal financial services and frequently have no option but to subsist almost entirely in an informal, cash-only economy.
Amb. Claver Gatete, the minister for finance and economic planning, said the decision was informed by the crucial role played by information and communication technology in all sectors of the economy, including finance.
This is why we have endeavored to promote a cashless economy by digitising financial transactions, he said.
“Today, the government conducts its business electronically, including paying salaries. We have put in place policies that encourage payment digitisation and continue to support the private sector, especially financial institutions to embrace the use of ICT to champion financial inclusion,” Amb. Gatete said.
“We believe that partnering with the Better Than Cash Alliance will further our ambition to transform Rwanda into a cashless economy and ensure that every Rwandan is financially included.
“Living in a cash economy makes it extremely difficult to access financial services like bank accounts, save for the future, build assets, or get credit.”
According to information and technology experts, the shift to electronic payments has the potential to advance financial inclusion and help people build savings while giving governments, development organisations, and companies a more cost-effective, efficient, transparent, and safer means of disbursing and collecting payments.
Currently, all civil servants in the country are paid electronically.
However, the new initiative advances the commitment to transition all forms of government payments to electronic forms.
Further digitisation of Rwanda’s economy is expected to contribute to achieving the government’s financial inclusion goals.
Rwanda also plans to expand the use of banking and retail transactions electronically, including in fuel stations, by merchants and customers across the country.
“We welcome Rwanda as the newest member of the Better Than Cash Alliance and commend the government’s leadership and commitment to continue transitioning away from cash,” said Ruth Goodwin-Groen, managing director of the organisation.
Goodwin-Groen said while the opportunities of digital payments abound, getting there takes work and “we stand ready to support our members, including Rwanda.”
“Digitising payments is achievable when a government articulates a clear vision, leads by example, and provides the right incentives for the private sector to do what they do best, innovate, develop infrastructure, and create products designed to succeed in the marketplace.”
Better Than Cash Alliance is hosted by the United Nations Capital Development Fund and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, United States Agency for International Development, and Visa Inc.