MasterCard, today announced its expansion into seven new markets across Central and West Africa, increasing its acceptance footprint across the continent and securing a number of strategic agreements.
The addition of Chad, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and The Gambia to the MasterCard network extends the company's presence to 48 of the 55 markets that make up the continent.
"Africa's ongoing economic development, steady population growth and encouraging political outlook means that there is an increasing need for innovative and secure payment solutions that address market needs," says Michael Miebach, Middle East and Africa President at MasterCard "The continent has immense strategic importance to MasterCard and we will continue to invest in infrastructure, people and know-how in this part of the world. This has been the fastest growing area for MasterCard for the past few years, and we expect it to continue to register high growth."
MasterCard is collaborating with governments, central banks, financial institutions, mobile network operators, large retailers and other stakeholders across Africa to understand the economic outlooks of these countries, their unique demographics, infrastructure challenges and opportunities. In so doing, MasterCard is directly contributing to the building of robust electronic payments ecosystems that support Africa's potential for economic transformation.
MasterCard's acceptance footprint, its network of ATMs and Point of Sale (POS) terminals, has increased significantly to reach more than 58,000 ATM locations and 438,000 POS terminals across Africa. MasterCard is also introducing new technologies that are rapidly closing the gap between the banked and unbanked on the African continent. Alternative delivery channels pioneered by MasterCard such as m-commerce, e-commerce, contactless technology and digital wallet services, are helping financially-underserved consumers gain access to formal financial services.
The company's collaborative approach and emphasis on innovation, safe and secure payment services, extending financial inclusion, and partnering with governments resulted in the conclusion of several partnerships across the continent since January 2013:
- A multi-country licencing contract recently signed with Ecobank, the broadest deal of its kind for MasterCard in Africa, will provide access to MasterCard's payment solutions for Ecobank's customers in 28 African countries, including the seven new markets.
- In Zimbabwe, the country's first EMV cards were rolled out as a result of MasterCard's collaboration with Metbank.
- In Kenya, the company announced a partnership with Equity Bank to roll out five million EMV, contactless-enabled debit and prepaid cards. This partnership will extend into Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan.
- Still in Kenya, MasterCard and Equity Bank announced the introduction of Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS) technology, a partnership with leading MPOS provider Ezetap.
- Also in Kenya, MasterCard and Kenya Commercial Bank announced a partnership to roll out five million EMV, contactless-enabled prepaid, debit and credit cards.
- In Nigeria, the Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) also announced last year that MasterCard technology would power the National Identity Card.
- In South Africa, MasterCard celebrated a remarkable milestone as 10 million citizens now receive their grant disbursement payments electronically through the SASSA MasterCard Debit card.
- In Tunisia, the Central Bank of Tunisia selected MasterCard payment technology for a government travel card designed specifically for its employees.
- In Morocco, Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (BMCE) and Prepaid Solutions Company Vantage Payment Systems(VPS) launched a MasterCard Payroll Prepaid Program to address the financial needs of interim workers, in addition to extending the cards to local security agencies and cleaning companies.
- In Egypt, MasterCard and Etisalat, along with National Bank of Egypt (NBE) launched the mobile payment wallet titled "Flous", bringing Etisalat Egypt's subscriber base safe and convenient payment services through the power of their mobile phones.
- Also in Egypt, MasterCard, NBE, Fawry and the Egyptian Banks Company announced the launch of "Phone Cash", an innovative mobile payment service that operates independently from the network of any specific mobile company.
The introduction of electronic payments to these markets is providing positive social and economic impact as local citizens get access to safe and secure means of transacting, while companies get to conduct their businesses beyond the constraining and risky cash environment.
"Our investment in Africa, through sharing industry knowledge and best practice, and by providing training for our customer banks, merchants and retailers, means we are creating more opportunities for all stakeholders in the African payments sector and better integrating the continent's economies with those elsewhere in the world," concludes Miebach.