RE: “Mastercard, Bank of Kigali and RwandaOnline in effort to advance e-commerce” (The New Times, September 28).
Good job to the team behind Rwanda Online/Irembo services. Obviously this is the first ever such concept in Rwanda and probably in Africa and obviously there are lots of challenges to sort out, but also opportunities to learn great lessons.
Although incorporating MasterCard is a commendable effort, the real value comes in the use of mobile money services. Electronic cards usually require a bank account which is the privilege of the few salaried and middle-income members of society. However, the un-banked are the majority, hence the real value of mobile money integration is quite evident.
Rwanda Online and telecom companies should ensure that mobile money works well (without hiccups) since mobile infrastructure reaches deeper in rural areas than banking outlets.
I also hope they emphasise on USSD technologies since the majority of rural population may take a while to afford a smartphone which also tends to be costly to use.
All the best to the team working on this initiative.
Thank you for your valuable feedback, Kigali Girl. RwandaOnline recognises the realities on the ground and is constantly looking to innovatively address challenges related to service delivery, with the Rwandan context and different user segments in mind.
Currently, Irembo accepts payment via all mobile money channels (MTN, Tigo and Airtel). In addition to that, 12 services are offered via USSD technology (dial *909#).
The partnership announced in the said article, specifically regarding Irembo, is related to provision of an e-payment (e-commerce) channel for the e-Government portal, supported by a payment solution delivered by Mastercard and BK.
A number of Rwandans are beginning to own cards and looking for different payment alternatives – this e-commerce solution allows them more options and holds significant potential to transform a number of sectors.