Tanzanian fintech NALA has entered the Rwanda market promising low-cost, trustworthy, and swift money transfer and payment services in Rwanda, after receiving a licence from the National Bank of Rwanda — the country’s financial sector regulator.
The company made the promise during a press conference it held in Kigali yesterday to celebrate after it got a Payment Service Provider (PSP) licence that will enable its direct integration with banks and mobile money operators locally.
The NALA App is available for download through the App Store or Play Store from the US, UK and Europe.
One of the features of the application is that if you have money in currencies such as the British Pound or the US Dollar, you can instantly send money, say to a person who has an MTN mobile money account in Rwanda and it reaches their account when converted into the Rwandan Franc.
According to the company, the licence is a major milestone towards its mission to build strong payment networks in Africa, and a signal of its intention to continue investing in Rwanda, given the country’s position as a global hub for business and investment.
The licence enables NALA to make international payments and money transfers to Rwanda cheaper and more reliable.
It unlocks a host of new payment capabilities including direct integration with banks and mobile money operators, disbursements such as for bill or school fees, and payment collections.
NALA will be able to process disbursements and collections in-house, reducing costs and increasing reliability for people sending money to and collecting money from Rwanda.
Changing paradigm of financial tools for Africans
Despite the many available options for sending money to Africa from abroad, the continent continues to be the most expensive destination to send money to.
According to the World Bank, as of March 2023, Sub-Saharan Africa remained the most expensive region to send money to, recorded at 8.35 per cent total average cost in the third quarter of 2023.
This is higher than the 6.25 per cent global average cost for sending remittances – and far from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of 3 per cent by 2030.
NALA is working towards changing the paradigm of financial tools for Africans by providing fair and transparent services to empower people with control over their finances.
“When you send money using NALA, right now there are little to no fees that we charge for your payment,” said the NALA Group Chief Operating Officer.
Nicolai pointed out that the company earns from the exchange rates of payments made through the App.
“We see that our payments arrive within one minute of a payment being initiated. So, somebody who needs to send home to family, or someone here [in Rwanda] that needs to send money locally, they can count on our service being reliable and the money showing up on time,” he observed.
“With this new licence, NALA commits to supporting and collaborating with the Rwandan regulator and the relevant government agencies to accomplish our shared ambitions.”
The company’s introduction comes after the rollout of the 2022-2027 Rwanda Fintech Policy which aims to firmly establish Rwanda as a regional financial centre and advance the nation’s financial inclusion.
In a press release, Jean-Marie Kananura, the Chief Investment Officer at Rwanda Finance, a company promoting and developing Rwanda as a leading financial destination for international investment and cross-border transactions in Africa, observed that the establishment of NALA aligns perfectly with their aspirations of positioning Rwanda as a Fintech hub.
“NALA’s presence will undoubtedly contribute to our efforts to drive digital and financial inclusion in Rwanda. We are excited about this development as it underscores our immediate role in facilitating different forms of investments to structure through KIFC (Kigali International Financial Centre),” Kananura said.
Kigali International Financial Centre is an ecosystem of financial actors that will transform Rwanda into an international financial destination for investors seeking opportunities across the African continent.