Rwanda has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance to help accelerate the adoption of electronic payments in the country as part of a commitment to achieve 80% financial inclusion by 2017.
The Better Than Cash Alliance was set up in 2012 by a group of development organisations, foundations and private companies, including Citi and Visa, to lobby for a shift towards electronic payments in the fight against global poverty.
The group argues that moving to e-money 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.
Rwanda has embraced the idea. The East African country already pays all government employees electronically and is bidding to ultimately transition to a cashless society as a way of bringing citizens into the formal economy and helping it meet the ambitious target of 80% financial inclusion within the next couple of years.
The tie-up will see the country benefit from policy, technical and financial assistance as it works to identify and implement the most effective approach to encouraging Rwandans to ditch cash.
Claver Gatete, minister of finance and economic planning, says: "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.
Ruth Goodwin-Groen, MD, Better Than Cash Alliance, adds: "We recognise that while the opportunities of digital payments abound, getting there takes work and we stand ready to support our members. 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."