On January 24th 2020, BK Group PLC has honored its pledge towards the Connect Rwanda initiative by handing over a Frw 200,000,000 cheque that assures the purchase of 2,000 smartphones including 1,500 smartphones given on behalf of the Group, and 500 smartphones from BK staff. The initiative is a noble endeavor which aims at providing smartphones to the unconnected in Rwanda.

In line with its aspiration of becoming a knowledge-based economy, Rwanda looks at technology and innovation as a driver towards a successful transformation.

It is in that regards that MTN Rwanda in partnership with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation launched a national initiative where corporate institutions and individuals make a voluntary pledge to put a smartphone in the hands of unconnected Rwandans. “Bank of Kigali has always been at the forefront in contributing to the well-being and progress of our Nation as evidenced by our continuous participation in various endeavors aiming at transforming the lives of fellow Rwandans. This Frw 200,000,000 donation towards the Connect Rwanda initiative is a further proof of our commitment to support national initiatives” said Bank of Kigali’s CEO, Dr Diane Karusisi. Connect Rwanda Initiative will achieve more than just connectivity but also allow financial inclusion through improved service delivery and access to new untapped business opportunities.

“We are pleased to make this donation of made in Rwanda smartphones in a bid to connect the unconnected. “ Dr Karusisi added. In a continuous effort to ensure Rwandans are connected, Bank of Kigali also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mara Phones, one of its valuable customers by setting up a loan structure that allows bank’s customers who are desirous to buy Mara Phones with a possibility of repayment in a period of 6 to 12 months.

Connect Rwanda Initiative will put smartphone ownership within reach of more Rwandans. The government of Rwanda is gradually bridging the gap of smartphones uptake with the phone penetration currently standing at 80.6% from 33% in 2010, according to the ministry of ICT and Innovation.

Connect Rwanda initiative could be an ideal way to ensure that all Rwandan households have a smartphone in 2020 and access to mobile financial services which is linked to the increase in the country’s economic growth. Increased smartphone penetration will among other things improve service delivery, boost financial inclusion and facilitate the rapid migration of services to digital platforms.

MTN and the Ministry of ICT and Innovation will work with local leaders to identify vulnerable households to give the smartphones to. Bank of Kigali’s Application IKOFI will be pre-installed in the phones to be given as a way to facilitate households access banking services without recurring to a third party assistance.

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