MasterCard Thinks Small With Microcommerce Platform in Africa
For some financial-services giants, the next big thing is micro, and unbanked customers are the entry point. The latest example is MasterCard, which is getting into microcommerce in Kenya with the launch of a new mobile platform that lets consumers buy goods with cash, mobile money, or bank transfer using their phones. The service, called 2Kuze, is aimed at Kenyan farmers and their customers and may mark the beginning of a deeper journey into mobile money products.
MasterCard unveiled the new phone-ready platform yesterday and said it will allow consumers to place orders for produce more directly with farmers. For help, the company synced up with the nonprofit Cafédirect Producers Foundation to connect with 2,000 farmers near Kenya. Spawned out of MasterCard’s Lab for Financial Inclusion, the new venture is backed by the Gates Foundation. While it doesn’t directly compete with existing mobile money networks like M-Pesa, it opens the door for future development in this area.