Ecobank/MasterCard Partner to Expand Payments in Africa
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
MasterCard announced on June 15 a new partnership with Ecobank to push electronic payments over the next 10 years in 32 sub-Saharan African countries – where, according to Michael Miebach, MasterCard President, Middle East and Africa, 90 percent of transactions are made in cash.
MasterCard follows main competitor Visa, which extended its presence into seven new African countries last March through a partnership with Bharti Airtel, a telecommunications service provider, to bring mobile payments services.
Ecobank, which is currently in 36 African countries, will also rollout innovative MasterCard acceptance solutions and thousands of mobile point of sales devices. The objective is to not only increase the number of merchant locations that accept MasterCard payment cards, but also to go a step further by enabling smartphone payments.
According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, mobile payments in sub-Saharan Africa will generate $1.5 billion in fees for mobile-money providers by 2019. The growth comes from a combination of a largely unbanked population and high mobile phone penetration. That has turned the southern half of the continent into a giant test of mobile money’s potential, and the region has the world’s highest proportion of active financial-services accounts, at 43 percent.