Mastercard, Bank of Kigali and RwandaOnline announced at the technology company’s Innovation Forum in Budapest, Hungary a partnership to launch Irembo– an online payment solution in Rwanda powered by Mastercard Payment Gateway Services. Aimed at fast-tracking payments in the country, this new solution will make online payments safer, simpler and smarter.
As outlined by Mastercard at the recent US Africa Business Forum, Africa is of immense strategic importance, and this is demonstrated by the company’s commitment to invest in the continent. It is through partnerships with governments, central banks and financial stakeholders that Mastercard is building robust electronic payment ecosystems that support Africa’s potential for economic transformation.
In light of this, Mastercard and the Bank of Kigali rolled out the payment gateway solution in June 2016, a month after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Mastercard and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Not only does this highlight the enormous progress that has been made, it also signifies the first phase of the MoU which forms part of broader efforts to digitize Rwanda as set out in its Vision 2020 goals.
As part of this solution RwandaOnline, a company with a 25 year partnership with the RDB, developed an online portal called Irembo which includes six government engines.
Through the Bank of Kigali and Mastercard collaboration, this portal now allows citizens to make online payments to any of these government entities through the use of debit, credit or prepaid payment cards. Residents can pay for anything from driver’s licenses, birth certificates and identity cards. The portal also allows travelers to Rwanda to apply and pay for their travel visa.
And there continues to be enormous potential for the Mastercard digital payment gateway solution in Rwanda as the Bank of Kigali can offer the technology to merchants who are then able to create their own online portal, opening up opportunities to entrepreneurs in this growing economy.
With merchants contributing significantly to the growth and the development of the economy, it is crucial to provide these key players with the solutions that they need to keep up with consumer demands. Through this solution, merchants are empowered to create new revenue streams as they are able to enter into the lucrative e-commerce market.
In the recently released McKinsey & Company report Digital Finance for All: Powering Inclusive Growth in Emerging Economies, it has been estimated that the adoption of digital finance could add $3.7 trillion dollars to the GDP of emerging markets, which ultimately would drive growth and the financial inclusion within those regions.
The report also states that 200 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have no or insufficient access to credit, proving that these sorts of solutions are critical in driving development in this area.
“The launch of the Mastercard payment gateway service is an important milestone for us. By introducing this new technology to the country, we are helping merchants and consumers leapfrog into the digital age,” says Daniel Monehin, Division President, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard.
“Mastercard extremely proud of the progress that has been made and during the last four months of working with the Irembo portal; we have gained invaluable insight that allows us to offer the solution that will best meet the needs of the local market. And the rollout of this solution solidifies our dedication to delivering cutting-edge technology which is safe and reliable.”
Bank of Kigali Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Diane Karusisi also hailed the development, noting that it is the Bank’s mission to provide its customers with highly secure payments channels. “We are excited to be adding to our offering as we launch the digital payment gateway solution which allows us to deliver highly secure digital payments.”
“Bank of Kigali believe this solution will be able to help drive the development of merchants and provide the people of Rwanda with tangible outcomes that deliver results that will positively impact their lives,” said Dr. Karusisi.
Mastercard continues to rapidly expand on its commitment outlined in the MoU, including the collaboration with the Bank of Kigali to extend simplified payment processes to its merchants and consumers.
“We are thrilled to be in partnership with the largest bank of Rwanda and we endeavor to continue our efforts in promoting a cashless Rwanda,” Monehin concludes.