Rwanda’s cashless transaction volume hits Rwf 24.5 billion in 2023

On 14 February 2024 at 10:34

In 2023, Rwanda witnessed a remarkable surge in cashless transactions, with the total volume reaching Rwf 24.5 billion, a significant leap from the figures recorded in previous years. This milestone was highlighted by Rwandan Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente during his address to both chambers of Parliament on February 13, 2024. He underscored the government’s diligent efforts to recover the economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country embarked on an accelerated path of digital transformation amid the health crisis, embracing cashless payment methods as a strategy to mitigate the spread of the virus.

This approach bore fruit, as evidenced by the growth in transaction volume from Rwf 3 billion in 2019, which represented 34.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to over Rwf 24 billion in 2023, accounting for 160.4% of the GDP. This dramatic increase in cashless transactions underscores the widespread adoption of technology across Rwanda and its beneficial impact on the national economy.

Prime Minister Ngirente highlighted that the shift towards cashless payment services has significantly streamlined financial transactions, thereby enhancing business operations and contributing to the growth of Rwanda’s GDP.

The transition to a cashless payment culture has permeated the entire country, including rural areas, signifying a fundamental change in the financial behaviors of the Rwandan populace.

The National Bank of Rwanda reports that mobile phone transactions have become the dominant form of financial transactions, representing 52% of the total in 2022/23. Meanwhile, bank card usage has witnessed a decline. Specifically, card payment volumes plummeted by 60%, from 5.7 million to 2.3 million transactions, and the value of these transactions fell by 46%, from Rwf 216.6 billion to Rwf 116.8 billion.

Additionally, 2023 saw an 18% increase in mobile banking service users, with mobile phone penetration soaring to 94.20%, up from 78.10% pre-pandemic. Online banking transactions also experienced substantial growth, with a 191% surge in the volume of funds transferred and a 59% increase in the number of transactions.

This data reflects Rwanda’s successful transition to a digital-first economy, highlighting the significant advancements in its financial infrastructure and digital literacy among its citizens.

Rwanda's cashless transaction volume hit Rwf 24.5 billion in 2023.