As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc with devastating impact globally, Rwanda deserves special credit for having steadfastly taken stringent measures in order to not only curb the rapid spread of the virus but also cushion resultant severe social and economic impact of the pandemic on her citizens.
One such stringent but worthwhile measure is the promotion of cashless economy. it is important to note that physical money currently acts as one of the major vectors for the virus’ spread whereas technology in form of cashless economy makes money transactions rather safe.
As recommended by the World Health Organization, many governments across Africa are implementing measures to shift payment transactions toward mobile money and away from physical cash.
For the case of Rwanda, in a bid to reduce the chances of transmissions of the COVID-19, the National Bank of Rwanda announced a stimulus in March 2020 that transactions via Mobile Money will be free to users for three months as the government moved to encourage digital payments. Billions of money are consequently being exchanged electronically among Rwandans at a highly growing rate an indication of the responsiveness of the population to the new well-thought out policy.
Contrary to blatant lies peddled by subversive elements that banks have been putting withdrawal ceiling due to lack of liquidity cash, the aim of such measures were rather meant to inter-alia contain the spread of Covid 19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, the fight against Covid 19 spread through cashless economy falls in a broader strategy by the government of Rwanda which approved a Payment System Strategy (2018-2024) aimed at further developing systems and structures that will help realize cashless economy.
What all these naysayers need to be educated about is that Rwanda’s central bank is currently conducting a countrywide sensitization campaign to raise awareness among the business community, professional groups and general public about the benefits of embracing Fintech tools such as electronic payment (e-payment) facilities. The drive is part of efforts to deepen use and access to e-payment systems like credit cards and e-wallets and hence fast-track the realization of Rwanda’s goal of being a cashless economy by 2024.
The cashless journey has been progressive, with digital financial services increasing over time, the value of e-payments to GDP has overtime increased exponentially from 0.3% in 2011 to 34.6% in 2019.
In support of this cashless economy agenda, Rwandan telecom companies such as MTN have deployed many of their agents across the country to educate consumers who don’t have access to television or radio.
It is therefore baffling with all these revealing commendable steps undertaken by the government to promote cashless economy with far reaching benefits beyond curbing the spread of Covid 19 pandemic, hostile groups choose to twist blatant facts and even go overboard by inciting Rwandans to refrain from depositing their money in the banks.
These detractors are often hosted by virulent Itahuka radio which is owned by terrorist Rwanda National Congress. This hate radio has been hosting an unlikely amalgamation of terrorist thugs and genocide ideologues that have been spewing venomous and divisive narrative with an elusive hope to create a wedge among a cohesive Rwandan society.