Rwanda Launches Africa’s First Universal Digital Pension Scheme For The Mass Market

In December 2018, His Excellency, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda launched the Long Term Savings Scheme named Ejo Heza (Kinyarwanda meaning for “Brighter Future”) during the 16th National Umushyikirano Council (the National Dialogue). The launch was attended by over 2,000 participants that included members of the Cabinet and Parliament, representatives of the Rwandan community abroad, local government, Civil Society Organizations, media and the diplomatic community.

The Ejo Heza Scheme offers opportunity and incentives for all Rwandan’s to save a voluntary share of regular or irregular earnings to mitigate against the risk of old age poverty. In October 2018, the Scheme was pilot-tested in a few districts. Over 30,000 citizens used their mobile phones to open digital Ejo Heza accounts in less than a fortnight and have already contributed over Rwf 20 million in long-term savings using mobile money wallets.

As is the case across Africa and South Asia, formal pension arrangements in Rwanda are restricted largely to salaried public and private sector employees. The remaining 94% of its citizens, including farmers, workers in small and micro enterprises, daily wage earners, domestic help and other non-salaried individuals are excluded from formal retirement saving programs.