Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and the government of Rwanda announced a partnership whereby Visa will help the government extend access of financial services to local and international consumers throughout the country. The announcement was made at a Monday press conference in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.
Like many other multinational corporations, Visa is seeking growth potential overseas. The company is aiming to generate 50 percent of its revenue from markets outside of the U.S. by 2015, it said in a company statement Monday.
Creating public-private partnerships is a key component of Visa's global growth strategy and the company is trying to explore geographies where electronic payments are currently limited, in order to extend its products there.
Many average Rwandans do not have bank accounts, and the Rwanda government is helping Visa spread its cards to these unbanked and under-banked people, the statement said. The company is also planning to introduce mobile banking to Rwandans.
"Partnerships such as this are key to delivering the promise of economic growth and financial inclusion that we know electronic payment systems can provide," Joseph Saunders, chief executive officer of Visa, said at the press conference.
The Rwanda government's blue print for the country is to turn it into a middle-income nation within the coming decade. Visa hopes to play an important role in increasing the country's inbound tourism and associating spending by connecting Rwanda's ATMs to Visa's global network of banks and cardholders, according to the charter of collaboration co-signed by Visa and the Rwanda government.
Rwanda is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million, according to the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook. About 90 percent of the country's population is engaged in agriculture, and mineral and agro-processing.
In 2010, Rwanda had a GDP per capita of $1,100, ranking 209th in the world. Tourism is Rwanda's primary foreign exchange earner.
Visa's competitor, MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA), is also actively exploring business opportunities in Africa. The company signed a deal with the Togo-based leading pan-African banking group, Ecobank Group, on Nov. 23 to jointly roll out MasterCard products in more than 30 Sub-Saharan African markets.