Building Tomorrow’s Economy: Rwanda’s Vision for Blockchain and CBDCs

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Building Rwanda's Digital Future: Key Partners Collaborate on CBDC Discussion

Rwanda Explores the Future of Money: Discussing CBDC at the Blockchain Community of Practice

On March 27th, 2024, the Kigali DigiCentre buzzed with excitement as the Rwanda Blockchain Community of Practice convened. The theme of the day? Discussing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in Rwanda.

A wide range of professionals were present at the event, including bankers, blockchain aficionados, leaders in finance and digital technology, and officials from the Rwandan Ministry of ICT.

Setting the Stage for Digital Transformation

The program kicked off with a warm welcome from Kayode Babarinde, Executive Director of the Africa Blockchain Institute. Joining him were prominent figures like Isaac Nkusi (Financial Literacy Consultant), Lily Ngarambe (Country Manager for Rwanda Yellow Card), Désire Nzengou (Advisory Board Member of the Africa Blockchain Institute), Emily Mutaga (Head of Project at Bank of Kigali), and Mathias Hakizamungu, co-founder of Ni-he.

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Blockchain for Financial Services: A Q&A Session Engages a Rwandan Audience.

A Glimpse into the Future: Blockchain’s Role in CBDCs

The event featured a captivating case study presented by Ayanda Luthuli, Chief Product Officer at Paycode. Luthuli unpacked the potential of blockchain technology in revolutionising CBDCs, particularly for Rwanda. The focus? Three key advantages:

  • Unmatched Security: Blockchain leverages cryptography to create a secure and tamper-proof record of transactions, safeguarding the financial system.
  • Enhanced Transparency: Every participant within the network has access to the transaction history, fostering transparency and accountability.
  • Streamlined Efficiency: Blockchain automates many manual processes involved in traditional payments, leading to a more efficient system.
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Access the Paycode Rwanda CBDC Report for more information.

Paycode suggests expanding retail CBDC to offline wallets in an area where people primarily use mobile money (far exceeding bank accounts) but have limited access to smartphones and the internet. Their system uses biometric verification and secure smartcard wallets with PINs to enable retail transactions with little reliance on the internet. Through a nationwide infrastructure-as-a-service approach, merchants connect twice daily, enabling users to transact offline. By facilitating transactions with or without internet access, this strategy seeks to improve digital transactions and the robustness of the financial ecosystem while ultimately lowering costs through shared national infrastructure. For more details, download the Paycode Rwanda CBDC Report.

Navigating the Digital Frontier: A Panel Discussion

A lively panel discussion, moderated by Emily Mutaga, delved into the “Opportunities and Challenges of Digital Assets in Rwanda and Africa.” Seasoned panelists like Isaac Nkusi, Lily Ngarambe, and Désiré Nzengou shared their insights, sparking thought-provoking conversations.

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Rwanda’s Fintech Frontier: Exploring CBDCs and Blockchain Innovation

Interactive Session with Participants

In an interactive session, the panelists were open to questions from the participants who got their questions answered about the importance of blockchain in modern-day financial services and co. Partners in this event include the Republic of Rwanda, RiSA, Blockchain Rwanda, Africa Blockchain Institute, Digital Transformation Centre Rwanda, and Ni-he.

Concluding Remarks: A Look Forward

The event culminated with closing remarks by Dr. Rene Kabalisa, representing the Research and Development Department of the Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA). Dr. Kabalisa commended everyone involved for their contribution to the event’s success, highlighting the importance of ongoing collaboration in shaping Rwanda’s digital future.

This gathering of Rwanda’s brightest minds in finance and technology signifies the nation’s commitment to exploring the potential of CBDCs. As the conversation around digital currencies continues to evolve, Rwanda is poised to be at the forefront of innovation.

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