Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and the Government of Rwanda today announced a wide-reaching Charter of Collaboration to develop localized solutions to extend access to financial services to local and international consumers throughout the country.
The partnership is a step in the Government of Rwanda's Vision 2020 plan, the country's blueprint to become a middle-income nation within the coming decade, with per capita income of $1000 by 2020, up from $220 in 2000. The success of that plan relies on a number of pillars, including shifting to a knowledge-based economy, private sector development and improving infrastructure.
Creating public-private partnerships is also a key component of Visa's global growth strategy. The company's aim to generate 50 percent of its revenue from markets outside of the United States by 2015 will partly be enabled through its ability to build, buy and deploy new technologies that extend its products to geographies where electronic payments are limited today, such as Rwanda.
The Charter of Collaboration encompasses 12 initiatives structured around three key areas identified by the Government of Rwanda and Visa as vital to the development of a fully-inclusive financial system.
I. Lay the Foundations for Electronic Payments - Install the basic infrastructure requirements to enable country-wide use of electronic payments, including: (1) facilitating the widespread issuance and acceptance of payment cards; and (2) localizing clearing and settlement services.
II. Promote Electronic Payments Innovation - Enable Rwanda to take advantage of modern technologies to reach Rwandans who are under-served by traditional payments infrastructure.
III. Capacity Building - Develop training programs and facilitate knowledge-transfer in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of financial systems throughout the country.
The partnership was announced today in Kigali at a joint press conference attended by the Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, Ambassador Claver Gatete and Elizabeth Buse, Group President, Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa Inc.
Ambassador Gatete said: "In all economies, well developed financial systems are essential for sustained economic growth. The partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Visa is an opportunity to increase efficiency and inclusion through the use of electronic financial services."
Buse described Visa's role in the partnership: "We are deploying our unique expertise and assets to bring the benefits of electronic payments and banking to emerging markets like Rwanda. By working with governments and stakeholders around the world to better understand the challenges of the underserved, we can adapt our approach to ensure that we are not only sharing our payments expertise, but are delivering meaningful local programs that meet the needs of governments and their citizens. In the long-run we believe this will also open up new growth opportunities for Visa."
Ambassador Gatete continued: "This partnership is aligned with the National Bank of Rwanda's strategy to reduce the widespread usage of cash and increase liquidity within the banking system, which ultimately reduces interest rates and improves price stability."
Noting the importance of government partnerships to Visa's global strategy, Joseph W. Saunders, Chairman and CEO of Visa Inc., said: "Visa believes that everyone has the right to have access to basic financial and payment services, and we are very pleased to be able to work with a government as committed to this vision as the Rwandan government. Partnerships such as this are the key to delivering the promise of economic growth and financial inclusion that we know electronic payment systems can provide."