Technological Innovation key to Financial Inclusion in Rwanda

When the Covid-19 pandemic first entered Rwanda in early 2020, the government quickly responded with a number of control measures, including a complete closure.

Restrictions on relocation directives, while necessary for health care, have led to the closure of almost all physical facilities except financial institutions, leading to widespread fears of the collapse of most remittance services.

However, WorldRemit’s unique value proposition of a secure and reliable fully digital cross-border money transfer service has stood out to bridge the gap through our leading mobile-to-mobile transfer platform, which ensures that Rwandans living abroad can – like Gertrude Muco send money to their families at home.

Ms. Mukamusoni, who has lived in the United States since 2016 after winning the green card lottery, has been a key supporter for her family in Gatsib, Rwanda’s eastern province, to whom she regularly sends money for maintenance and development.

For the past five years, Ms. Mukamusoni has tried a variety of remittance options, eventually choosing WorldRemit as her preferred global payment service provider, precisely because of the app’s ability to send funds directly to Rwanda’s mobile wallets, and for its fast, secure and safe delivery.

Indeed, Rwanda is one of the countries where WorldRemit has become a pioneer in its leading mobile money transfer services, which have skyrocketed thanks to the accelerated proliferation of mobile phones in the country.

With 107 cell subscriptions for every 100 people, it is not surprising that the value of funds transferred through mobile money has grown by 450% in the first four months of the pandemic2.

The state directive on the temporary suspension of payment transactions has further increased activity in the space of mobile money transfers: the number of unique subscribers who send money has almost doubled to 1.2 million in the week after the first closure.

At WorldRemit, we have also taken the initiative to further alleviate the situation by reducing and sometimes even temporarily abolishing transaction fees for our international money transfer services.

These reduced prices persisted even as COVID-19 improved, as studies show that on average WorldRemit transactions are 25% more affordable than the market4, contributing to affordable remittance space, a precursor to financial integration in developing countries. .

Financial integration, according to the World Bank, means that people have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs, ranging from transactions, payments, savings, loans and insurance, among others.

A recent Finscope study found that 93% of Rwandans have been financially involved since 2020 against a target of 95% by 2024.

From our point of view, the 95% goal is achievable with the joint participation of all stakeholders, be it our business partners in the field of telecommunications or banking.

Fortunately, we work in a like-minded ecosystem, and together we are actively working to develop technologies that will reduce the number of barriers that currently exist in the transaction lifecycle to effectively reduce transaction fees.

In a world still experiencing a health crisis where most households live on limited budgets, WorldRemit is expanding financial access for the communities we serve, with the goal of keeping more money in the pockets of our valued customers through innovative, safe and secure technologies.

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