MasterCard and United Bank for Africa (UBA) have completed a multi-country licensing project that will see the pan-African bank accept and issue MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards in 14 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
Through the partnership, 14 of UBA’s 19 subsidiaries across sub-Saharan Africa will gain access to MasterCard payment solutions, and by so doing, enjoy the security and convenience of electronic payments. MasterCard will leverage UBA’s fast growing footprint to enhance the adoption of cashless payments in a wider geographical region across Africa.
United Bank of Africa is now licensed to accept and issue MasterCard products in Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea (Conakry), Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Prior to the completion of the deal, United Bank for Africa was licensed to issue MasterCard payment products in Nigeria.
Commenting on the initiative, Deputy Managing Director and CEO, UBA Africa, Kennedy Uzoka, said: “This collaboration is a reflection of our vision, which is to be Africa’s bank of choice for the provision of innovative financial products and services. We understand the significance of partnerships, and what we have with a global player such as MasterCard, is an integral part of achieving our vision for Africa.”
The growth of Africa’s payments industry follows a combination of public and private investments in innovative solutions that will see the extension of financial inclusion to the unbanked and under-banked.
Daniel Monehin, Division President, sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard, said: “MasterCard’s commitment to Africa means that we continue to work with various partners in the financial services sector to continually develop products that help consumers make the shift from the use of cash, to the adoption of electronic payments, which hold numerous benefits for them. We are proud to partner UBA, whose growing footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, also means that the financially underserved will be brought into the financial services fold owing to the developmenervices fold owing to the development of diverse and relevant products and services.”
United Bank for Africa and its subsidiaries serve more than seven million customers with a network of over 700 business offices in Africa. The partnership with MasterCard will result in UBA customers being able to use MasterCard products on ATMs and Point-of-Sale terminals (POS) in the 14 African countries, as well as in the more than 210 countries and territories where MasterCard is accepted.
Today, over 85 per cent of retail payments globally are still carried out using cash or cheques, with the percentage being much higher in Africa. However, the combination of a rapidly expanding middle class and steadily improving financial literacy, supported by robust technology is increasing the appetite for electronic payment usage in Africa, providing opportunities for the advancement of a cashless society across the continent.