Rwanda steps up campaign to go cashless

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-16 20:18:54|Editor: pengying
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KIGALI, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda on Thursday announced a campaign that seeks to promote digital transaction, payments and savings in order to achieve a cashless economy.

The central African nation is massively promoting paperless society whereby in the next few years every transaction in Rwanda could be digitized, thus effectively antiquating hard currency, said John Rwangombwa, governor of National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), at the launch of the electronic payment awareness campaign in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

Rwangombwa said a cashless Rwanda would enable cost saving and increase resources in the financial institutions to allow for cheaper loans and more investments.

The one-month drive will go across the whole country under the theme "accelerating the move towards a Cashless Rwanda through Public-Private Partnership."

"Cashless Rwanda will increase productivity, improve the velocity of money and bring more money into the formal economy. This attracts more business activity, generates employment opportunities, and subsequently increase higher tax revenues for the country," Rwangombwa said.

The Rwandan central bank spends 2.3 million U.S. dollars (about 2 billion Rwandan francs) annually as printing cost of banknotes and coins for the country, adding that the bank also incurs around 17.5 million dollars every year related to cash handling, counting, processing and transporting, he said.

The lifespan of a bank note in Rwanda is around four months against an average of eight months with a higher level of cashless means, according to the central bank.

According to BNR, the introduction of higher denomination banknote of 10,000 Rwandan francs (about 11.7 U.S. dollars) would have been necessary if the government had not chosen the vision of becoming a cashless economy. Currently the highest denomination banknote is 5,000 Rwandan francs.

Speaking at the event, Rwandan minister of ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana said the country has provided a conducive environment for ICT growth by improving access to services, enhancing connectivity, creating business and employment opportunities.

Digital banking can help increase access to financial services, as well as reduce the cost of transactions, he said.

During the campaign, the central bank and the Rwanda private sector federation plan to meet different segments of the private sector to brainstorm on how Rwandans can adopt more efficient payment methods and enjoy the benefit of digital transaction.

Moving from cash to digital payment can provide enormous direct advantages to consumers, businesses, governments and the people, said chairman of Rwanda Bankers Association Maurice Toroitich.

A cashless economy is in a better position to cut financial delays and corruption, it will also help to increase tax receipts with increased documentation and transparency, he said. (One U.S. dollar equals about 854.77 Rwandan francs)