ECOBANK, a pan African bank, has pledged to support development of infrastructure to boost electronic financial services, including payment systems in the country.
According to Ade Ayeyemi, the Ecobank Group chief executive officer, the bank will work with the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and Ministry of Youth and ICT on initiatives aimed at improving digital financial services ecosystem in the country across.
Ayeyemi, who was speaking during the launch the new Ecobank mobile application in Kigali on Tuesday, however did not say what kind of support the bank would be offer. He said the mobile app will enable customers to transact and access banking services instantly and conveniently via their mobile phone.
“The Ecobank mobile platform opens opportunities for customers by allowing them to shop, transact and do business without having to carry cash. This will be transformational for Rwanda and Africa in general; and through its purchasing power and Ecobank’s partnerships with Visa and MasterCard, the new app will work and is an accepted as a means of settling payments,” Ayeyemi said.
He said the innovation removes of barriers to entry and is affordable, adding that it “will come in handy for the consumer on the move”.
He noted that through innovation and digital banking, Rwanda and Africa will be able to achieve financial inclusion targets and attain sustainable growth and prosperity. Ayeyemi lauded Rwanda’s banking sector resilience and soundness and its role contributing to the country’s economic growth.
BNR roots for more innovative, affordable products
Meanwhile, the central bank has called on financial institutions to develop more innovative and affordable products to boost universal access to finance.
John Rwangombwa, the BNR governor, said such products would greatly increase access to finance and support government’s efforts to boost inclusion.
He said the new Ecobank mobile application is the first unified app delivered by any institution for use in 33 countries and adds to the bank’s array of digital banking services.
According to governor Rwangombwa, such innovations have the capacity to promote universal access to finance.
“The new platform reduces the need to carry cash which gives customers the opportunity to deposit money through a mobile transfer. This has always been our long-term objective that we believe will transform Rwanda into a cashless economy,” Rwangombwa said.
Speaking at the event, Alice Kilonzo Zulu, the Ecobank Rwanda managing sirector, said the mobile app comes with it an Ecobank Xpress account, a master pass quick resume technology and quick resume code that makes it easy for customers to transact electronically.
“With the Ecobank mobile app, customers can now make and receive instant payments across 33 African countries on their mobile devices,” Kilonzo said. The platform now makes it possible for Rwandans to send and receive money across 33 African countries, where Ecobank has presence.
Over the past two week, a number of banks have unveiled or announced plans to launch e-financial services platforms or facilities, including cards.
KCB plans to launch a platform that will make it possible for customers to acquire micro-loans on their mobile phones, while Equity Bank and BPR launched credit and debit cards, respectively.
The trend is in line with government goal to make Rwanda a cashless economy besides deeepening financial inclusion and increasing access to services, especially in rural areas.