MasterCard and the government of Rwanda have announced a collaboration to help bring more of its citizens into the financial fold.
As part of its Vision 2020 initiative, Rwanda is promoting moving toward a cashless economy, which is where MasterCard's aid comes into the mix. To make the collaboration official, the Rwanda Development Board and Cabinet Member CEO Francis Gatare, and Raghu Malhotra, president of Middle East and Africa for MasterCard, signed a memorandum of understanding.
What the initiative will entail includes: the digitization of school fees and national health care 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.
“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 said.
The reason this vision is so important for the people of Rwanda is that, according to the World Bank's Global Findex 2014, only 42 percent of adults own a financial account. Two billion people worldwide have no access to formal financial services.
Rwanda’s Vision 2020 has set a goal for 70 percent of its citizens to be financially included by 2017, and 90 percent by 2020. MasterCard and the Rwandan government will work together to address challenges that prohibit people from joining the financial fold, including addressing the lack of formal identification and financial illiteracy.
“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," Malhotra said.