Rwanda has finally joined the most of African countries with its official launch of the RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) system.
What makes Rwanda a little different from other African countries is that it has also launched ACH (Automated Clearing House) for checks. RTGS and ACH are called together ATS (Automated Transfer System).
ATS, combined with CDS (Central Depository Securities) for handling securities, represents RIPPS or Rwanda Integrated Payment Processing System. This makes Rwanda really unique compared to many other developing countries since not too many countries have taken this integrated approach.
To make it easy and simple, all electronic payments, checks and securities transactions may be handled real time after CDS is fully integrated... perhaps in 2014. Until then, however, at least all electronic payments and checks may be processed real time. That alone is significant. Electronic payments will include payments for utilities and communications as well as interbank direct debits and credits.
Moreover, RIPPS will be integrated with the payment systems of EAC (East Africa Community - 5 countries) and COMESA (Common Market for East and Southern Africa). EAC payment systems will go live in March.
I know... There are far too many acronyms.
I attended the official launch ceremony of the RIPPS today (Feb. 15 2011) at the National Bank of Rwanda, the central bank. Ministers of Finance and ICT were in attendance.
May this RIPPS take the Rwandan e-payment system to a new level! - Jeffrey