MasterCard Tuesday announced its entry into seven new markets across West and Central Africa following strategic agreements and increased acceptance across the continent.
Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia and Rwanda have now been added to the MasterCard network, expanding the company’s market to 48 markets out of the 55 that make up Africa. MasterCard’s acceptance footprint has also reached over 58,000 ATM locations and 438,000 Point of Sale terminals across Africa.
“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, MasterCard’s President for Middle East and Africa.
Miebach reiterated the company’s commitment to investing in the African people, infrastructure and know-how, as he noted that the continent’s importance to MasterCard was strategic.
“This has been the fastest growing area for MasterCard for the past few years, and we expect it to continue to register high growth,” he said.
MasterCard’s collaborative effort has over the years given birth to fruitful partnerships in different parts of Africa since 2013.
One of such deals was signed with pan-African bank, Ecobank, to offer assess to MasterCard’s payment solutions to its customers in 28 African countries, including the seven new markets MasterCard just entered.
The e-payment solutions company also announced a partnership with Kenya’s Equity Bank to roll out five million EMV, prepaid cards and contactless-enabled debit cards; a contract that will extend into Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda where the bank is also present.
The company has also recorded 10 million South Africans who now use the SASSA MasterCard Debit card to receive their grant disbursement payments electronically.
Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) last year announced that MasterCard technology would power the National Identity Card.
These collaborations with governments, central banks, financial institutions, mobile network operators, large retailers and other stakeholders across Africa is aimed at understanding the economic outlooks of these countries, their unique demographics, infrastructure challenges and opportunities.
MasterCard believes it is “directly contributing to the building of robust electronic payments ecosystems that support Africa’s potential for economic transformation”, with such collaborative efforts.
Miebach says the company’s investment in Africa, which has been done over the years through sharing of industry knowledge and best practice, and also by training its customer banks, merchants and its retailers means MasterCard is “creating more opportunities for all stakeholders in the African payments sector and better integrating the continent’s economies with those elsewhere in the world”.