Rwanda: MTN, Bank of Kigali Extend Services to the Unbanked

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

MTN Rwanda and Bank of Kigali (BK), have entered into partnership to extend financial services to the unbanked population through mobile banking.

The partnership is tailored to boost mobile banking services, promote financial inclusion and enhance the country's policy towards a cashless economy.

The new partnership allows MTN mobile money subscribers to receive and send money through any BK branch across the country. Traditionally, money is received at authorised MTN mobile money dealers.

Lawson Naibo, Chief Operating Officer, Bank of Kigali, says that the partnership will also help the bank to roll out its services and reach out to those financially excluded.

"This partnership is leveraging our efforts to meet our customers promise and we will be able to increase our footfall in our branches," Naibo said.

MTN subscribers will also enjoy mobile money services like account opening, cash deposits, transfers and withdrawals free of charge.

"Mobile money subscribers will be able to get into any of our branches and get served and be able to go to our ATM and transact using their virtual accounts at no extra cost," he said.

The partners are eyeing to use the service and encourage people to open bank accounts and thus attracting many into the financial system. Currently, 22 per cent of the population has access to financial services and government targets to raise this to 80 per cent by 2017.

Currently, 41 of 56 BK branches offer the service though the lender is committed to roll out the service to the remaining 13 branches by the end of the year.

Naibo noted that since the mobile phone is the most ubiquitous distribution channel on the continent at the moment, the bank believes that the delivery of financial services through mobile telephony is where the real innovation and development is taking place in the retail market.

MTN Rwanda's Chief Executive Office, Khaled Mikkawi said partnerships with financial institutions would widen access to their services.

"The mobile money platform should not be seen as competition to consumer banking but instead as a catalyst to services offered by leading financial institutions like BK. Rwandans can only benefit from greater convergence between conventional banking services and the mobility that mobile telephony offers."

Mikkawi said MTN Rwanda has a total of 500,000 subscribers on the mobile money platform since the service started two years ago and is targeting to have all the subscribers (3 million) on mobile money.