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The Rush for ‘Smart Kigali’

6 June, at 09 : 19 AM Print

Smart Kigali

With the increasing need for better and smarter services in Rwanda, telecommunication companies in Rwanda are now in a rush to make the best use of the mobile money service to market their products and increase the numbers of clients on their network.

The notion of Smart Rwanda, first introduced by the Kigali city council through the One Stop center services. In a bid to improve ways of doing business and making Kigali a ‘smart’ city, the city council authorities have launched a new way of paying for construction permits using mobile money on one’s phone.

The initiative was launched in May in collaboration Kigali One-Stop Center and Rwanda’s three telecommunication companies-MTN Rwanda, Tigo and Bharti Airtel- who will provide free services for residents to be able to pay Rwf60.000 fee charged on fees for construction permits.

Kigali City Mayor, Mr. Fidel Ndayisaba said that the new initiative is one of the objectives that city authorities have set make life and business easier and faster for everyone through adopting information technology as a drive for living a smart life.

The launch event was initiated by three clients using different telecom networks making payment transactions.

Ndayisaba said that: “this is part of the reforms in the land registration programs. To make it as easy as sending a text message and being able to print you land title from anywhere in the world without coming to the One stop center.”

Change of game

As more companies in the telecommunication industry such as Tigo and Airtel compete for revenues with MTN for all the products, telecom operators are coming up with initiatives to grow their revenues.

This time around all the telecom companies have decided to go free of charge – on this mobile money service, a move which works to the advantage of the subscribers. All the officials of the three companies say that service is aimed at encouraging more Rwandans to subscribe with their respective network, since there are a lot of services in which the companies collect revenue

The MTN mobile money transfer in Rwanda from one MTN number to another the sender is charged Rfw500 for sending Rwf100, 000 which is far cheaper.

“The transactions take less than a minute and one is required to follow the instructions from the service provider. That is all it takes. Simple and fast but to our advantage” says Jean Damascene Rutagengwa, a real estate developer.

Life insurance goes mobile

Rwanda’s leading telecommunications company, MTN Rwanda has also recently added life insurance onto its mobile money platform in a bid to facilitate increased penetration of insurance services in Rwanda which are said to have a low uptake in the market.

The new product- MTN life care is designed help most Rwandans with low income earnings to be in position to afford health services easily. The service is a venture between Prime Life Assurance, a life insurance services provider, and MTN Rwanda.

The new service is expected to be an additional effort to Rwanda’s health insurance sector, which is mostly covered by the mutual insurance policy –commonly known as Mutuele de Santé (Mutual Health Insurance).

MTN’s Acting CEO, Patrick Uwizeye said that the company is commitment to giving added value to customers using the mobile money platform.

Use of the Mobile money platform is becoming an increasing demanded service in Rwanda. Mobile penetration in Rwanda has hit 63.7% and over 1.7 million subscribers were registered on the mobile money platform by March this year according to Rwanda Regulatory Authority statistics.

In other private developments, MTN Rwanda and ‘I stay connected’ limited liability company have entered into a partnership to facilitate international mobile money transfers due to increased competition on the market. According reliable sources the deal has not been sealed, but the company was hopeful to offer services at a cheaper fee compared to traditional service providers.

Mobile penetration in Rwanda has hit 63.7% and over 1.7 million subscribers were registered on the mobile money platform by March 2013 according to statistics from Rwanda Regulatory Authority. The figure was at 639,000 subscribers at the end of last year, with MTN Rwanda having pushed over Rwf90billion through the platform.

MTN Rwanda with the largest subscriber base of 3.6 million, Tigo with close to 2 million while new entrants Airtel has so far registered a total of  over 180.000 subscribers.

According to the latest figures from the central bank released in in August last year, the number of subscribers for mobile payment by June last year had increased to 2,048,260 from 1,440,541 subscribers.

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