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Accelerating Growth in an Inclusive Rwandan and Pan-African Digital Economy



By Dr. Diane Karusisi, CEO, Bank of Kigali and Dr. Reda Helal, Group Managing Director – Processing, Africa and Co-Head Group Processing, Network International (Image: Supplied). 

One of the visible signs of a growing digital economy is its flourishing initiatives for financial inclusion and financial literacy. Rwanda recognizes financial inclusion as a crucial component for realizing its development and economic prosperity and is a remarkable example of a country that is introducing such programs to aid in setting up a vast digital economy, which are increasingly gaining international recognition. The country has set an ambitious target to achieve 90% formal financial inclusion by 2024.

Building inclusivity by involving microfinance institutions, savings and credit cooperatives, and mobile network operators, as well as enabling interoperability in digital payments, play a critical role in ensuring accessibility for populations that have historically been unbanked and rely on cash-based transactions.

Digital transformation

Traditionally, Banks and FIs feel enormous pressure to grow their digital payments penetration in a landscape that is radically different from even five years ago. This pressure is accentuated when Fintechs and wallet operators are added to the mix. Everything from regulatory requirements, a competitive landscape and consumer expectations to product innovations has upended the “business as usual” outlook for digital payment providers. The industry is fraught with challenges that payments leaders must carefully navigate.


Financial institutions are increasingly recognizing the importance of digital transformation and access to data. A legislation on the protection of personal data and privacy that was passed in October 2021 serves as a foundation for enabling trusted and secure domestic and international data flows and maximising the economic and social benefits of data-driven technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), for businesses and individuals in Rwanda.

The Bank of Kigali is an interesting example of a financial institution that has transitioned from traditional banking processes and payments to a structured digital platform. Embarking on a digital journey four years ago, the bank introduced several measures including internet banking and a mobile app, ISO standardization, and cyber resilient systems tuned to ensure the safety of customers’ data while enabling digital transactions through mobile phones.

Internet penetration in Rwanda stood at 30.5 percent of the total population in January 2023, with 4.25 million internet users. Incidentally, the ownership of smartphones in Rwanda stands at 26.7 per cent among men and 21 per cent in women respectively, according to the 2022 Rwanda Population and Housing Census, with the number of mobile phone users standing at 11.7 million in June 2023. Mobile phone penetration of 87 percent has consecutively increased the interest in digital payment solutions.

With the surge in mobile usage and e-commerce within the country, it is natural for banks to respond to the momentum and strengthen their digital economy payment services. The Bank of Kigali, for example, sought the advisory services of Network International (Network) to understand how to enhance and structure their product offering to cater to evolving customer behavior.

Network has been at the helm of accelerating digital transformation and has extensive experience in revolutionizing digital finance in the region with a deep understanding of digital payment offerings and technology usage. Network, using generational artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, as well as market knowledge and data utilization, helps the Bank generate informed business decisions to refine their services proposition in accordance with consumer spending trends.

Threat landscape

In a rapidly evolving digital payments landscape, the threat of fraud looms large. According to TransUnion Africa, digital transactions in financial services surged by 12.2 per cent during the first half of 2023, and the alleged rate of suspected digital fraud attempts for transactions from Rwanda in financial services increased 252 per cent year-over-year (YoY) – the highest rise among industries analyzed. The Rwanda Investigation Bureau reported 254 cases of cybercrime involving up to RWF 416 million in 2021. While fintechs and other new stakeholders in the environment pave the way to superior banking services, they also ensure to bolster their systems with strategic analysis and secure data management systems to counter sophisticated fraudulent activity.

In this regard, Network supported Bank of Kigali with an authorization strategy with detailed analysis focusing on authorization diagnostic, data and fraudulent transactions. Based on the findings of this analysis, Network provided recommendations to aid the Bank in improving operational efficiency, reducing risks, and accelerating growth.

Advanced tools and technology leave no room for error or vulnerabilities, in an environment that is seeing a growing dependence on mobile wallets, digital-only banking platforms, and contactless payments, which fosters adoption of digital payment solutions between merchants and consumers. This security allows for convenient access to digital payment services which include remittances, timely purchases, e-commerce and small businesses promotions, insurance payouts and more.

By enabling innovation and operational efficiency for financial institutions, Network International contributes to government-led financial inclusion initiatives and supports the sustainability of commerce among the masses.

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LG Electronics showcases trendsetting Home Appliance products in the MEA region



LG Electronics MEA Team (Image: Supplied). 

Global consumer electronics pioneer LG Electronics, recently hosted its LG Showcase MEA 2024 in the Conrad Hotel in Abu Dhabi, under the brand’s theme of Reinventing Together. The event, which focused not only on showcasing the latest innovations, but also on building relationships with its stakeholders, had a confirmed attendance of over 500 guests each who were provided with the chance for a hands-on experience with each product.

During the course of the showcase event, LG Electronics exhibited their latest products and innovations in home appliances that not only enhance daily life, but also provide functionality, unique upgradability and personalization. The focus area included a line-up of home appliance products, which includes refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, air conditioning solutions and more.


Commenting on the event, Mr. Il Hwan Lee, Chief Executive Officer, LG MEA Region, said “The LG Showcase MEA 2024 is the home ground where our latest innovations are displayed. We keep our customers in mind during every step of development, and the products we have on display here are a testament to that promise. Not only do we tackle the needs of the consumer, but we also provide the added benefits of unique experience, elegant styling and revolutionary features that can enhance their home.”

During the event, LG Electronics also showcased its popular refrigerator with the MoodUP™ feature. This feature, known for its exciting and unique color options, adds a unique personality to any home kitchen. Through the LG ThinQ™ app, users can choose from 22 colors for the upper door panel and 19 colors for the lower panel. In addition to its visual aesthetic, the new LG MoodUPTM Refrigerator comes with three LED panel doors and a transparent fourth door. The panel doors can have their colors customized through the LG ThinQ app, while the transparent door features LG’s famous InstaView capability that shows the interior of the fridge with two simple knocks. It also features built-in Bluetooth speakers, perfect for playing music during cooking.

LG Electronics’ solutions to upscale your kitchen doesn’t end there, with the brand’s built-in kitchen package that was on display. Keeping in mind energy efficiency, user-friendly features and elegant designs, this unique lineup comprises an InstaView™ oven, QuadWash™ dishwasher, bottom-freezer refrigerator and microwave oven. While each of these products are premium on their own and can individually elevate the kitchen, it is this premium portfolio of products that can really step up your kitchen game.

LG Electronics also showcased its Residential Air Conditioning units, such as the ARTCOOL lineup which features the LG DUAL Inverter Compressor™, a critical element that brings powerful cooling without affecting efficiency. The DUAL Inverter maximizes cooling performance for promising faster cooling while also saving energy with optimized compressor operation. Residents can get stronger cooling, as this Dual Inverter Compressor runs faster than conventional non-inverter compressor. It also ensures precise cooling, by maintaining the setting temperature even while running at minimal level.

LG Electronics also takes an interesting spin on washing and drying, showcased with the LG WashTower™ Compact laundry solution. Keeping in mind space-efficiency, this home appliance combines both a washer and dryer with an all-in-one control panel and advanced AI in a single, space-efficient unit. The washer offers a generous 13-kilogram capacity and its dryer, a 10-kilogram capacity, and requires less installation space than the average stackable or side-by-side washer and dryer pair of the same laundry capacity.

It also comes with a flat, unibody design that provides an optimal laundry experience and brings a subtle and minimalist aesthetic. The WashTower™ also uses advanced laundry technologies such as Artificial Intelligence Direct Drive™ (AI DD™) to identify the most suitable washing pattern (drum motions, water temperature and wash cycle time) for each load, reducing fabric damage to help clothing last longer. The Smart Pairing™ feature saves users time and hassle by syncing the dryer with the washer; automatically selecting the best drying cycle based on washer load settings, making it an excellent all-around performer.

Alongside the washing and drying solutions, LG Electronics also showcased the LG Styler, a premium steam cleaning solution that can refresh garments in minutes. Built with a simple plug and play method, this solution aims to be a way of smarter styling, complete with a stylish look of its own.

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LG Electronics MEA leads with innovation in new Home Entertainment Line-up



LG Electronics, a global leader in consumer electronics, recently hosted its LG Showcase MEA 2024 at the Conrad Hotel in Abu Dhabi. With the overarching theme “Reinventing Together,” the event focused on showcasing the latest innovations and extending relationships with its stakeholders. Hosting over 500 esteemed guests, the event offered hands-on experience with its latest products.

A key focus area during the exhibition was LG’s line-up of home entertainment products, which ranges from its televisions, audio and gaming products.

Commenting on the event, Mr. Il Hwan Lee, Chief Executive Officer, LG MEA Region said “We design each product with the goal of enhancing the daily lives of our customers. This LG Showcase MEA 2024 event is a testament to this commitment, and we are proud to exhibit our flagship products today. Each of these home entertainment products are designed with practical innovations while keeping customer use-case requirements at heart, which aligns with our goal of creating a better life by elevating everyone’s entertainment experience and the interior of their homes.”


During the event, LG brought to the region its latest innovations in OLED technology; including its flagship 97-inch LG SIGNATURE OLED M, the world’s-first consumer TV with Zero Connect technology which enables the transfer of 4K video and audio, wirelessly at 120Hz. This iconic feature resolves all cable management nightmares and allows for an uncluttered space by having all devices connected to the Zero Connect Box and positioned away from the TV.

Also featured during the event is LG’s innovative StanbyME Go, the 27-inch FHD smart screen that boasts a unique carry bag design, that allows users to easily use them on-the-go. It keeps mobility in mind with its unique design and a built-in battery that lasts up to three hours of screen time. It comes with various connectivity options such as wireless mirroring and NFC, which can be activated with a simple tap.

The screen itself also rotates, giving users the option of a vertical or horizontal orientation. In addition to the streaming options, the screen is also ideal for listening to music with its turntable skin or for playing chess with the pre-installed Chess game. Customers can also control the unit through voice control, even from a distance. The unique design of the StanByME Go promises enhanced durability, keeping the screen safe from bumps, temperature fluctuations, low pressure, dust, salt fog and vibrations.

During the course of the event, LG also showcased its latest LG webOS which brings to the table a completely revamped home screen with wider title cards and smoother tiles for categories such as Game, Music and Home Office. The smart operating system, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, expanded into 300 TV brands and 3,500 content partners, including local partners and has an active user growth increase in the MEA region by 20 times.

LG also showcased its new α (Alpha )11 processor that will be used in its flagship TVs, one that will deliver powerful AI capabilities and enhance the overall viewing experience. This new processor is four times more powerful than its predecessor and will refine clarity, color and sharpness, as well as providing a 70 percent improvement in graphics performance and a 30 percent faster processing speed.

LG displayed its range of XBOOM speakers which deliver bold and loud sounds with strong bass and massive sound. For instance, the LG XBOOM XL9T, the most powerful-in-class party speaker, produces an immense sound of 1000W with booming bass and high notes. Additionally, the pixel art and multi color ring lights further step up the party. Its smaller variant, the LG XBOOM XL5S with a 200W output for powerful party music, complete with the series’ iconic party lighting.

Amongst these audio products, LG presented their portable speakers, such as the XBOOM Go XG8T, a 120W speaker with 15 hours of battery life. This on-the-go speaker not only packs a powerful punch in audio but can also boost sound further and turns up the party with its studio light feature. Also on display were the LG XBOOM Go XG7Q and the compact XG5S with a 30W output and 20W output respectively, which comes in a unique design with ambient lighting, perfect to set the mood. It is also IP67 rated, making it the perfect musical companion for the outdoors.

Additionally, LG showcased the LG TONE Fit TF7, which focuses primarily on comfort, convenience and immersive sound. The LG TONE Fit TF7 offers a superior fit for fitness enthusiasts, ensuring customers can focus solely on their workout without any distractions. Featuring a patent-pending skirt shape hook, these earbuds offer optimized fit and usability for various outdoor activities. Apart from its superior sound quality, these earbuds are also focused on health, with the UVnano technology integrated into the earbuds’ cradle actively sanitizes the ear gel surfaces, creating a more sanitary listening experience.

LG Electronics also showcased the LG CineBeam Q, the much awaited, stylish and smallest 4K portable projector from LG. This mighty 4K laser projector not only delivers stunning picture quality, but also a range of streaming features, while its minimalist design fits into any home design ethos.

This was all topped off with LG’s innovations in monitors, with the new LG UltraGear™ OLED gaming monitor and LG MyView Smart Monitor.

The latest lineup of LG UltraGear OLED gaming monitors is a true testament to LG’s commitment to the gaming industry. Available in sizes of 32-inch (model 32GS95UE), 34-inch (model 34GS95QE) and 45-inch (model 45GS95QE), these OLED gaming monitors are the pinnacle of gaming displays, bringing in a true immersive experience. The new 32GS95UE, the world’s first VESA certified Dual Mode gaming monitor, enables it to switch between 4K (3840 x 2160) up to 240Hz and Full-HD (1920 x 1080) up to 480Hz with one simple click. It also comes with a range of other features such as the LG’s Pixel Sound technology, which projects sound directly from the display using vibrating film components built into the monitor itself.

Meanwhile, the LG MyView Smart Monitor, a must-have for productivity and entertainment even without having to connect to a PC, was showcased alongside. Available in sizes of 27-inches with FHD and 32-inches with 4K resolution, these smart monitors pack in LG’s webOS software along with support for AirPlay 2, ScreenShare and Bluetooth. Designed for multi-tasking, this monitor will allow you to do your daily work, control home gadgets and even stream your favorite content, all from one display. Also, the 27SR50F is available in four color options (beige, pink, green) to cater to various tastes and seamlessly blend into any interior design.1

What’s more, LG unveiled the LG MAGNIT (model LSAL006), a stunning 118-inch, 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution Micro LED display. Delivering unparalleled picture quality through the brilliance of Micro LED technology, the LG MAGNIT allows customers to enjoy complete viewing immersion in the comfort of their own spaces, be it personal or professional.

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Huawei Kenya Advocates for Inclusive Connectivity



Huawei Sub-Sahara Africa Vice President, Mr. Wan Wei at Connected Africa Summit 2024.

Huawei Kenya is advocating for inclusive connectivity to accelerate national digital transformation. Speaking at the Connected Africa Summit 2024 held in Nairobi last week, Vice President of Huawei Sub-Sahara Africa Mr. Wan Wei highlighted the importance of building network & cloud infrastructure to drive economic growth, social progress, and sustainable development across the continent.

He also presented a proposal for ubiquitous intelligent connectivity networks combined with cloud-based data driven innovation to enable inclusive intelligent service.


“Beyond mere connectivity, such infrastructure holds the key to enhancing social welfare, fostering innovation, promoting economic competitiveness, facilitating regional integration, and ultimately advancing the sustainable development agenda in Africa. It is not just a means to an end, but an end in itself, capable of enriching the lives and well-being of all people,” Mr. Wei said.

Mr. Wei provided insights on policy and technical measures to build low-cost rural mobile networks and speed up fibre-optic networks to ensure high-speed broadband for all people, all homes, all businesses, and all institutions. He highlighted the regulatory interventions that can help, such as lower cost way leaves, tax incentives for investment, infrastructure sharing between power and telecoms infrastructure and lower taxes for affordable devices.

“Through our collective actions and shared commitment, we aim to lay a solid foundation for Africa’s digital future, positioning our continent at the forefront of the global digital revolution. Let us work together diligently and purposefully to build a digital ecosystem that not only empowers our economies but also uplifts our societies and enhances the quality of life for all citizens across Africa. Through the strategic development of Network and Cloud infrastructure, we pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous digital future for our continent,” he said.

Huawei’s exhibition at the Summit included sharing insights on how to speed up the roll-out of fibre-optic networks and lower the build-out costs though technology innovations such as Quick-ODN as well as regulatory interventions, such as the new Building Code that is being reformed to “ensure all new buildings are fibre-optic-ready” as His Excellency President Ruto highlighted in his opening remarks at the Summit. This includes common ducting outside and inside buildings that telecoms companies can use to quickly and easily run their cables into, manholes and easy-access points for engineers to use to connect fibre and run it into properties as well as maintain it, and the provision of equipment rooms or spaces in buildings.

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