Africa Financiers in Rwanda to Discuss Cashless Economy

A client using an ATM machine to withdraw cash. Discussion on the cashless economy will dominate the continental meeting since June 20

Continental financial gurus are expected in Kigali to discuss African opportunity to showcase development in building a cashless economy.

On June 20, Rwanda will host the 25th Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) – Africa Regional Conference

The Africa Regional Conference (ARC) 2018, will take place in Kigali from 20-22 June 2018 and will bring together up to 500 high level financial representatives from 50 countries. Under the theme ‘Transforming the future – driving a new digital economy’.

Delegates will discuss the most significant issues facing the region and the Central bank of Rwanda said this is an opportunity to showcase Rwanda’s role in changing Africa’s financial sector.

“Rwanda is a major economic player in Africa and leading the charge in financial technology and innovation across the continent. It is therefore very fitting that delegates will meet in Kigali to discuss the future of Africa’s financial sector,” John Rwangombwa, Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, said.

Sido Bestani, SWIFT’s Regional Director, Middle East, Turkey & Africa said that Rwanda is one of the focal countries in the East Africa region which remains dynamic and contains some of the largest and highest growth economies in Africa.

“As one of East Africa’s leading financial centres, Rwanda is an exciting market to bring together Africa’s financial services professionals,” Bestani said.

The conference will look at key trends in the region, including the next generation of payments, new financial technologies and their potential to drive trade and financial inclusion, financial crime compliance and the challenge of de-risking, and the ongoing fight against cybercrime.

Rwanda has made a significant progress in embarking on digital and cashless payments, growth in mobile money payments and developing new modes of payments in transport, civic services, taxes and banking transactions among others.

For example, Rwanda has set a 2024 target of digital payment acceptance points from 37/100,000 to 324/100,000 and all government payments going 100percent digital.

Currently all government services, like child registration, national identity cards and marriage certificates, among other things are paid through the Irembo platform, however the new drive plans to have all payments made government to government going digital at 70%.

The issue of cybersecurity remains a concern to be highlighted for the whole region and more financing protection could be central for experts at the ARC 2018 conference.

At least eight million cyber space attackers have attempted to hack into Rwanda’s financial institutions in the last year, but managed to enter into only one of the systems, Rwanda Central Bank said.

However Rwanda is seeking $1.5 million for the construction of a cyber-security centre that will coordinate investigations in eastern Africa against cybercrimes and cyber-enabled crimes such as terrorism, trafficking and money laundering.

According to Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report 2017, majority of organisations spend less than $5,000 annually on cybersecurity products while some have no budget and do not train their staff in cybersecurity.

East Africa’s financial institutions with Kenya losing $171 million to cybercriminals, Tanzania $85 million and Ugandan companies $35 million in the year 2016, and in general African countries lost at least $2 billion in cyber-attacks in 2016.




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