Theodomir Ijamboryimana, 30, is among Rwandans with good stories to tell. Stories of economic transformation and growth.
Hailing from Rwaza village, Rwaza cell of Rugerero sector in Rubavu district, Ijamboryimana is an agent of Cogebanque based in Gisenyi market.
Ijamboryimana ran a small shop in his village until June 2015 when he learned about Cogebanque agency banking.
Prior to working as Cogebanque agent, he would not earn enough money. His dreams seemed impossible.
He decided to venture into agency banking. Following the approval of his application to work as Cogebanque agent, Ijamboryimana used part of his resources to secure Rwf 1 million initial capital to start banking transactions.
It was a gamble at the beginning as Ijamboryimana would only make transactions of Rwf 1,000 to 5000 earning him little commission.
He held tight until the story changed and kept mobilizing people about the importance of agency banking in financial inclusion and cashless economy.
His efforts saw residents embracing agency banking services gradually and opened accounts with Cogebanque with his support as they realized that transacting with their accounts is much easier without necessarily queuing at banks.
Other services rendered to clients include cash deposit, withdrawal and transfer at cheaper cost.
The fact that Cogebanque removed monthly charges for Itezimbere account owners was a value addition to Ijamboryimana’s business. Clients demonstrated appetite for his services gradually until he was able to make minimum transactions of Rwf 20,000 per day.
From commission paid on daily transactions, Ijamboryimana saw his dreams coming true.
“Before I became Cogebanque agent, I was single. From earnings, I built a decent house and got married in July 2018. My family leads a dignified life and blessed with a child,” he said.
The little resources he had increased remarkably that Ijamboryimana’s capital grew to Rwf 5 million.
“Clients are happy with Cogebanque for the critical role in driving their financial inclusion through agency banking. They can open accounts, transact with ease, pay for airtime, electricity bills, withdraw, deposit or transfer money to customers and non-customers,” he says.
Ijamboryimana believes his growth should not be taken for granted and is optimistic to take farther his aspirations.
He advises Rwandans not to be short sighted but rather grab every single opportunity.
“Before working as an agent, I was not zealous with my dreams. The story of my life has changed and more is to come. It is time to wake up, never miss any opportunity to eradicate poverty,” he advises.
“Opening account with Cogebanque makes you rest assured of your money’s safety. Rwandans are welcome to bank with us. I am glad to have assisted a large number of people to go cashless,” he enthuses.
Agencies can be used for transferring money through Cogebanque by customers and non-customers at affordable prices.
According to Yvon Gilbert Nishimwe, the head of e-banking services; people should grab opportunities made available through agency banking services with the cheapest transfer fees.
“People should take advantage of banking with Cogebanque agents. With agency banking, clients can open accounts with no monthly charges. Whoever integrated into the system, can use mobile banking and transfer funds to customers and non-customer at the cheapest cost in Rwanda,” he said.
Cogebanque has over 650 agents countrywide and plans to increase the number to drive more Rwandans into financial inclusion.
Financial inclusion is considered a tool for economic transformation, especially in improving welfare and the general standard of living, wealth creation as well as poverty reduction.
Statistics show that the world’s unbanked population dropped from 2.5 billion in 2011 to 1.7 billion in 2017.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, where over 60% of the population fall below the age of 25, most of them are less likely to have a bank account compared to adults.
Central Bank statistics show that over 70 per cent of Rwandans are unbanked.
Financial sector players are therefore urged to pick interest in ensuring that citizens are financially included and have access to affordable financial products and services meeting their needs.
In its National Strategy for Transformation, the Vision 2020 and its successor Vision 2050, the Government of Rwanda set out long-term development objectives namely: eliminating poverty, and becoming an upper middle-income country by 2035 and a high-income country by 2050.
The vision of the Government is to achieve this through high savings and investment and structural transformation to a knowledge-based economy.
Sound fiscal policies are key for inclusive growth as well as adequate public and public-private investment levels.
Like other commercial banks, Cogebanque supports Rwanda’s economic growth through financial inclusion providing a comprehensive range of products and services targeted at corporate, SMEs and retail customers.
The bank has many delivery channels such as branches (27), ATMs (33), internet banking, mobile banking (USSD & Mobile Wallet), number one provider of MasterCard in the country and agency banking (Over 600 agents across the country).
Cogebanque Mastercard holders enjoy safe and convenient payments in-store and online knowing they are protected against unauthorized transactions due to the Mastercard zero liability.
They can also transact at least 36 million locations worldwide as well as access round-the-clock customer service support for lost or stolen cards via Mastercard Global Services.
Cardholders also enjoy exclusive benefits such as unique experiences and privileges around the world via Mastercard Priceless Cities.
Cogebanque (Compagnie Générale de Banque Limited) is a commercial bank approved by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) since 1999.