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OPay partners Mastercard to ‘open up e-commerce to millions’ in Africa

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Africa , 19 May 2022

Merchants and consumers from Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa now have another option to make payments worldwide through a Mastercard virtual payment solution powered by Africa focused Fintech firm OPay.

Chinese-backed OPay is considered to be among the continent’s biggest payments start-ups. It has now joined forces with global payments company, Mastercard in a development the two companies say will “open up e-commerce to millions of people” across Africa.

According to a statement released jointly by the companies, the new partnership enables OPay wallet holders to utilise the new Mastercard virtual payment solution to shop at well-known global brands for leisure, travel, accommodation, entertainment and streaming services among others.

As a further disruption, the new offering does not require users to be holders of bank accounts. Small scale business owners will also be able to “purchase from suppliers abroad and pay” though the virtual payment solution.

Kenyans will also be able to utilise the new virtual payments solution that runs on Opay’s eWallet platform. Other African companies powering up virtual credit and debit cards include Zambia’s Union54.

OPay CEO Yahui Zhou said on Thursday that the partnership with Mastercard enhances the Fintech’s “journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses” across the African continent.

The Fintech and e-commerce sectors in some African markets such as Ethiopia have been described as nascent, but ready for innovation and disruption.

Amnah Ajmal, executive vice president for market development in the MEA region at Mastercard EEMEA, said, “Our partnership with OPay demonstrates our commitment to supporting payments providers across the world to create an interconnected global payments ecosystem that benefits an array of consumers with unique needs.”

Ajmal added that consumers across the region are “increasingly looking for seamless user experiences on a single platform offering easier interactions to complete various day-to-day needs, including sending and receiving money, ordering food and groceries, organising transport, lending, investing and listing items” they wish to sell.

OPay launched operations in 2018 and said it has signed up 15 million users across Africa. Nigeria represents its biggest market boosted by the absence of mobile money wallets in prior years.

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