In partnership with
The Rwandan Economy Digitalisation Programme is a three-year digital transformation initiative by the Government of Rwanda, the Mastercard Foundation and Cenfri. The programme seeks to work with policymakers to develop evidence-based and inclusive policies to reduce poverty and digitise the Rwandan economy.
Despite the impressive development of financial inclusion gains in Rwanda, there is still a long way to go to ensure an inclusive and sustained transition to a fully digitalised economy. FinScope shows that, while 67% of adults had access to mobile money and banking accounts, only 30% of adults made use of them in the last year, despite forced digitalisation brought on by COVID-19 and rolling lockdowns.
There is a need to move beyond the access and usage paradigm of financial inclusion to focus on ensuring that financial services meet people’s needs. Digitalisation and technology can facilitate this shift by monitoring what is happening in real time and leveraging data insights for targeted interventions for improved societal outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened the importance of having access to dynamic and reliable data to be able to make the right policy choices to digitise payments. This programme aims to give policymakers a better view of the impact of different policy measures and the ability to track, analyse, respond and adjust as necessary in a dynamic world.
The Rwandan Government has already begun charting an ambitious course for achieving rapid digital transformation and has demonstrated a clear commitment to embracing the digital economy as a lever for accelerating growth, improving services delivery and realising a cashless economy by promoting e-payments. A large quantity of data is generated in Rwanda: The opportunity is to make this data “decision-ready” and immediately accessible to policymakers to enhance their understanding and response.
This initiative aims to complement the existing government strategy by working closely with public and private institutions to more deliberately harness digital technology to begin closing data gaps that have impeded effective policymaking for the uptake and usage of digital payment and digital financial services in Rwanda.
As new challenges are brought to light, policymaking will become more targeted, with attention appropriately and efficiently directed; more tailored, so that responses fit divergent needs; more nimble, better able to adjust quickly to changing circumstances; and more experimental, with real-time testing of how customers and individuals respond to different strategies. Building such data-driven frameworks in Rwanda will require sustained leadership, skills development and commitment, which are now within reach.