Rwanda’s Finance Minister John Rwangobwa

Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, John Rwangombwa, launched the campaign in Kigali, Monday, saying it is part of the various  initiatives lined up to boost financial literacy.

“We have been requesting all key players in the banking sector to be active and follow suit…its part of the bigger vision to becoming a knowledge based economy.”

He reaffirmed government’s commitment to reduce poverty and ensure that the adult population has access to financial services.

“Accessing and understanding the services provided by financial services endows anyone with the opportunity to take advantage of their abilities.”

The campaign will be conducted through theatre for the next three months across Rwanda by showcasing financial concepts.

Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, Amb Claver Gatete, said that, to date, there are three million active accounts, with two million held in banks with the rest in Saccos, noting that “government has not been doing very well in terms of financial inclusion.”

“We are talking about the supply side and this is where government has played a key role. Now it’s time for the demand side and this is where there is a gap,” Gatete pointed out.

He stressed the need to bridge the demand gap in a ‘very systematic and sustainable way’.

VISA has, in the past, used road shows to educate people about financial tools and recorded great success.

“Street theatre is one way we have deployed elsewhere and I have no doubt that thousands of Rwandans will enjoy the show as it tours the country,” said Elizabeth Buse, Group president, Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa Inc.

She added the initiative is the primary purpose of Visa’s partnership with the government, in part to bring to the country the full benefits of electronic financial services.

Only 22 per cent of the population has access to financial services, but government targets to increase this to 30 per cent and 80 per cent by 2013 and 2017, respectively.

By Gertrude Majyambere, The New Times


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