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Rwanda Gets Funding for Localized Artificial Intelligence System

by Daniel Sabiiti
7:42 pm

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a donation of US$ 1.024million for the implementation of a project to manage customer complaints through artificial intelligence in Rwanda, Zambia and Ghana.

The project announced this February 6, 2021 will also enhance financial inclusion for national banks of Rwanda, Ghana and the Commission on Free Competition and Consumer Protection of Zambia.

The resources come from the special fund of the Facility for Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa (ADFI) which will use the expertise of financial firms to set up a complaints management system for the regulators who will benefit from the system.

The system will use multilingual images and artificial intelligence to collect complaints from financial services users.

“The solution will allow complaints from financial services customers, including illiterate customers (via audio) to be recorded and tracked by financial service providers, ” the African Development Bank said in a statement.

The AfDB said three results are expected from the implementation of the project.

The aim is to better monitor the handling of complaints from financial services customers; strengthen the care of marginalized groups, which builds confidence in the ecosystem and the use of financial services; and finally to develop the collection of coherent data for the elaboration of consumer protection policies.

The solution will be developed by Sinitic Africa, a subsidiary of Sinitic SA, a financial technology company based in Canada, in collaboration with BFA, a leading consulting firm in studies focusing on regulations.

These companies have already jointly developed and successfully deployed a similar project for the Bank of the Philippines (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines.

In general, in the three target countries, Sinitic’s solution will be deployed in the following main languages: Kinyarwanda, Swahili, French and English for Rwanda, English and Nyanja for Zambia and English and Twi for Ghana with the possibility of further particularization according to the needs of different central banks.

In case the system is unable to integrate all the national languages spoken in these three countries, officials said the project will focus on the main local idioms or official languages as recommended by the authorities of the beneficiary central banks.

At the country level, KTPress learnt that Rwanda Central Bank has already set up the project plan and implementation, which was decided on by several bank officials in charge of customer care services, and has been waiting for the funding and implementation of a centralized artificial intelligence system that connects all banks.

Athanasie Niragire, the Head of marketing and customer experience at Equity Bank Rwanda said that such funding is timely because it will help all banks to understand and resolve, a central level, the real issues affecting their clients.

“With technology we will be able to have an overview of the issues and how to address them from the root causes but also create awareness, resolve consistent network issues and bridge the knowledge gaps,” Niragire said in a phone interview today.

Currently every commercial bank in Rwanda runs its own centralized customer care service, which handles mostly tech related complaints ranging from loss of password, account verification, and digital transfers.

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