About two weeks ago, Ericsson announced that it has signed an agreement with the Rwandan government for the launch of a national interoperability switch based on the Ericsson M-Commerce Interconnect solution.
With this agreement, Ericsson provides a national interconnect solution which is required to bring together all the players and systems within the financial service area. This will connect financial and payment services providers within the country and enable end-user to enjoy, in real time, a range of digital payments possibilities across all financial platforms and service providers.
To better understand this, I had a chat with Peter Heuman, VP and Head of M-Commerce for Ericsson to talk about this agreement the company has just signed with Rwanda and what its plans are when it comes to M-Commerce and financial inclusion.
I was interested to know why the company decided to go with Rwanda and not any other country in Africa. Mr Heuman said that Ericsson and the Rwandan government signed a memorandum of understanding where Ericsson will be the adviser when it comes to ICT related issues. One of the things that the Rwandan government was interested in is the national Interoperability Switch within the financial sector. He went ahead to say that the Rwandan government interests and those of Ericsson aligned perfectly from the start. He said that the Rwandan government was keen to see and understand how it can offer financial inclusion in the country.
The interconnect solution is not based on bilateral agreements between different parties, it requires everyone to connect to this platform which is then connected to the national bank of Rwanda. This makes things easier for every party concerned and provides room for nationwide scaling.
Ericsson knows that there are risks associated with this solution and Heuman says that the knowledge, insights and experience the company has in the Mobile commerce and financial sectors will guarantee security. He went ahead to say that bringing economies to a digital era will help and create a better security compared to the previous financial services.
Rwanda is not the only country Ericsson has plans to work with, it is the first national Interoperability Switch the company is supplying but more are to come. The company is in talks with other countries in Africa and around the world but refused to name any of the countries just yet.
For how much the company has invested or will invest, Ericsson declined to give out the specific figures but said that it is ready to make investments to make the national Interoperability Switch work.