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Mastercard taps into 'African digital revolution'

Mastercard taps into 'African digital revolution'

Mastercard has revealed some of the steps it is taking to capitalise on growth in uptake of some of the latest technologies across Africa. The payments & technology company took part in the 6th Edition of the Cashless Africa Conference and Expo in Lagos where its representatives made the case for sustained investment in Africa's digital potential.

Omokehinde Adebanjo, Vice President & Area Business Head for West Africa at MasterCard says mobile is key for a sustainable future for banking, money, and payments in Africa.

"One of our key priorities for the past few years has been driving the African Digital revolution with the aim of building financially included societies. 70% of the poorest fifth of the population in developing countries own a mobile phone. More households in Africa own a mobile phone than have access to electricity or clean water. Mobile money services have the potential to add over US$3.7 trillion to African economies in the next ten years. Mobile has proven to be a crucial tool for driving financial inclusion on the most financially excluded continent because it transcends demographics, economic disparity, and location – especially in Africa. Mastercard remains focused on working with our partners to develop a cashless Nigeria, and we are working globally to achieve the same goal of a world beyond cash."

Adebanjo believes that a digital payments revolution can make a difference in Africa where 85% of all transactions are still made in cash and cheques resulting in a cost to the economies on the continent.

"In some countries, the cost of cash is 0.5% to 1.5% of GDP of that country. Mastercard will work with partners to ensure we migrate from a cash to cashless economy. "

Beyond financial inclusion

Mastercard senior officials, including Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean, as well as Mastercard Division President for the Middle East and North Africa Khalid Elgibaly, met with Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser ElKady this week during which it was agreed that Egypt would host a workshop in Cairo to discuss future cooperation.

Egypt's Communications and Information Technology Ministry says the workshop will develop a strategy to stimulate the digital economy by means of providing government support services to Egyptians through smart cards, in addition to exploring smart transportation services and big data analyses that can support decision-makers and drive economic growth in the country.

The discussions with Egypt come days after Mastercard committed its support to helping Ghana develop a cashless economy following a meeting with the country's Vice President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

Recent inroads by the company also include a new solution implemented in partnership with DStv through which MultiChoice customers in South Africa can pay their accounts using Mastercard's Masterpass on their smartphones.

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