Rwanda, MasterCard Sign deal to Promote Financial Inclusion

Gatare and Malhotra are joined by Gatete (left) and Monehin (right) for a group photo after the signing. (Courtesy photos)

The Rwandan Government and MasterCard, a major payments and technology company, have inked a deal to jointly promote a cashless economy, reports The New Times.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday under which they committed to work together towards including 90 per cent of the country’s population in the financial mainstream.

The partnership was reached in the context of Rwanda’s Vision 2020, which seeks to transform the country into a knowledge-led, middle-income economy.

The agreement was signed by the chief executive, Rwanda Development Board and cabinet member, Francis Gatare, on one hand, and the President of Middle East and Africa for MasterCard, Raghu Malhotra, on the other.

Both sides will collaborate on numerous initiatives, according to a statement from RDB.

The deal was sealed on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa, in Kigali, which enters its third and last day today.

“These solutions include, the digitization of school fees and national healthcare claim payments, providing an online payment gateway for Rwanda Online, contributing to the creation of a common mobile banking platform, and contributing to the effective management of spending activities across borders,” it reads in part.

“We are confident that Rwanda’s partnership with MasterCard will be beneficial to the country and its citizens as we are implementing our vision of becoming a knowledge based service-oriented economy. I believe this can only be achieved as we embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Gatare is quoted as saying.

The Government of Rwanda shares the commitment of MasterCard to realising a world beyond cash, Malhotra said.

“Our global reach and local experience makes MasterCard a perfect partner to help Rwanda meet its Vision 2020 strategy. Rwanda is a key market in East Africa for MasterCard and today’s announcement marks an important milestone in driving financial inclusion, not just in the country but in the region and Africa as a whole.”

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex 2014, two billion people globally do not have access to formal financial services. In Rwanda, 42 per cent of adults own a financial account – whether formal or informal.

Building on the company’s approach to develop partnerships with governments, NGOs and local businesses, MasterCard and the Rwandan government will address common challenges faced by poor and often remote populations, such as the lack of formal identification and financial illiteracy, adds the statement.

MasterCard, with a presence in more than 210 countries and territories globally, operates the world’s fastest payments processing network.

The firm says that its products and solutions make everyday commerce activities, such as shopping, travelling, running a business and managing finances, “easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone”.

The signing was witnessed by Claver Gatete, the Finance and Economic Planning minister, and Daniel Monehin, MasterCard’s division president, Sub Saharan Africa.

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