Rwanda Advances Transition To Cashless Economy By Joining UN-backed Alliance

The Government of Rwanda has moved to accelerate plans to transform into a cashless economy by joining a United Nations-backed initiative that supports countries transition to electronic payments, the world body announced Thursday.

With the assistance of the Better Than Cash Alliance, which is hosted by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the Government of Rwanda will transition all forms of government payments to electronic ones.

Other aims include achieving 80 percent financial inclusion by 2017 by, among other improvements, expanding the use of banking and retail transactions electronically, including in fuel stations, and by merchants and customers across the country.

"We welcome Rwanda as the newest member of the Better Than Cash Alliance and commend the Government's leadership and commitment to continue transitioning away from cash," Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Better Than Cash Alliance, said in a statement.

"We recognize that while the opportunities of digital payments abound, getting there takes work and we stand ready to support our members," she addd.

The Better Than Cash Alliance is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, United States Agency for International Development and Visa Inc.

Working with governments, the development community and the private sector to adopt the use of electronic payments, the alliance provides support to those who commit to make the transition.

According to the UN, the efforts of the alliance are aimed at helping "people who lack access to formal financial services such as bank accounts, and who often subsist almost entirely in an informal, cash-only economy."

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