Rwanda: Going Paperless – How Much Could Rwanda Save?

Rwanda is expected to save billions of money as it pushes the implementation of a cashless economy and paperless policies.

One of the key sectors that were made paperless is the land registry whereby e-titles [electronic land titles] were introduced.

A new system to help landowners access land titles online was launched in 2023 to reduce cost and time.

More than 10 million land titles in paper were supported to be accessed in digital format.

Marie Grace Nishimwe, Director General of the National Land Authority (NLA), told The New Times that so far, “866,130 electronic land titles have been downloaded by land owners.”

“This will save money annually that was being spent on printing. We have not done all the calculations, but printing templates was about Rwf11 million per year. Without costing other things that go with it,” she said.

There are currently 11.5 land titles in the land registry system.

“All landowners could access the e-titles. Many of them do not need it currently because they are not transacting, or they still have their physical land titles,” she noted.

Previously, the issuance of land titles was done on printed certificates, which came at a cost due to printing expenses, and paperwork. For each new title, someone had to pay Rwf5,000.

Paper is also a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which can be eliminated by going “paperless” to save the environment.

Savings from cashless economy

In 2017, the central bank embarked on a countrywide sensitisation campaign to raise awareness among the business community, professional groups, and the general public about the benefits of embracing electronic payment (e-payment) facilities.

The drive is part of efforts to deepen the use and access to e-payment systems like credit cards and e-wallets and hence fast-track the realisation of Rwanda’s goal of being a cashless economy.

According to central bank estimates, the business community was losing up to 6 per cent in transactions done using hard cash as opposed to only 2 per cent loss incurred when transacted electronically.

The central bank spends $2.3 million annually on the printing cost of banknotes and coins for the country.

The bank also incurs around $17.5 million every year related to cash handling, counting, processing, and transporting.

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