Home Innovation ‘Irembo’ to transform payment systems in Rwanda

‘Irembo’ to transform payment systems in Rwanda

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A new online payment system in Rwanda will fast-track payments for anything from driver’s licences to birth certificates, not only making it safer, simpler and smarter but even provide a service for tourists to buy visas online.

The system, introduced by Mastercard Payment Gateway Services in collaboration with the Bank of Kigali and RwandaOnline, was announced at an innovation forum in Budapest, Hungary. It has been named Irembo – the Kinyarwanda word synonymous with ‘access’, ‘service’ and ‘openness’.

Mastercard said at the recent US Africa Business Forum that it considered Africa of immense strategic importance. The commit to the continent it seeks partnerships with governments, central banks and financial stakeholders to build “robust electronic payment ecosystems that support Africa’s potential for economic transformation”.

As part of this solution RwandaOnline, a company with a 25 year partnership with the Rwanda Development Bank, developed the Irembo portal, 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 allow travellers to Rwanda to apply and pay for their travel visa.

The system also have potential for merchants who can create their own online portals, opening up opportunities to entrepreneurs.

Merchants contribute to the growth and development of the Rwandan economy. Mastercard says it is crucial to provide these players with payment solutions that keep up with consumer demands. Through this solution, merchants are empowered to create new revenue streams as they are able to enter into the e-commerce market.

IT News Africa quotes a recently released McKinsey & Company report ‘Digital Finance for All: Powering Inclusive Growth in Emerging Economies’ which states that it has been estimated that the adoption of digital finance could add $3.7 trillion to the GDP of emerging markets.

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.