Atlas Mara and Mastercard have signed three strategic business agreements, which aim to build a stronger digital payment ecosystem with a focus on accelerating financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa.
The strategic alliance will pave the way for up to 20 million consumers and 100,000 merchants across Africa to be digitally and financially included in the formal financial sector by 2020. By leveraging the Mastercard worldwide network and other processing assets, including the host of Mastercard secure digital payment platforms, such as HomeSend, Masterpass QR and Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, this partnership will enable Atlas Mara’s operating banks in Africa to build stronger payment ecosystems and expand access to fast and secure remittance, e-Commerce, and mobile payment solutions.
“These Mastercard assets will position Atlas Mara to lead ongoing industry efforts to create cash-lite payments ecosystems, entrench financial independence, promote intra-Africa trade and remittances thus fast tracking attainment of scale as an Africa focused bank,” says Chidi Okpala, Chief Digital Officer at Atlas Mara.
“The digital payment solutions developed by the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in collaboration with Atlas Mara will help create a highly efficient society and facilitate true inclusive growth in Africa while reducing transaction costs across the continent.”
According to Daniel Monehin, Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard: “Sub-Saharan Africa requires innovative solutions and strong collaborations across sectors to help drive economic growth. Mobile subscriptions in the region is steadily increasing and it is clear that mobile based solutions are relevant to the needs of people on the continent, and will help to develop an Africa that is less dependent on cash.”
“Africa’s remittance market has opened up a number of opportunities for driving financial inclusion due to the lack of legacy issues. According to research by the World Bank, the Sub-Saharan Africa region had an inward remittance flow of over US$34 billion, with outward remittance flows of approximately US$4 billion,” continued Monehin.
Masterpass QR, the Mastercard mobile-driven, Person-to-Merchant (P2M) payment solution, will also be rolled-out as part of the partnership, thus facilitating access to an affordable alternative to traditional point-of-sale (POS) terminals for merchants to accept electronic payments from their customers, benefiting the entire economy.
Added to this ecosystem, merchants and consumers will have access to the Mastercard suite of digital and traditional payment solutions, including prepaid, debit, and credit Mastercard cards, widely accepted at millions of locations worldwide. These payment cards offer EMV chip and pin technology, ensuring that all transactions are safe and secure.
“Our partnership with Mastercard will help to accelerate Atlas Mara’s vision to become a positive disruptive force in Sub-Saharan Africa by leveraging technology to provide innovative and differentiated product offerings that will better meet the diverse needs of people in the markets we currently operate, and as we expand across Africa. After all, Africa’s success, is our success,” concluded Chidi Okpala.
Atlas Mara is a financial services institution listed on the London Stock Exchange. Its vision is to create sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial services institution through organic and inorganic growth by combining the best of global institutional knowledge with extensive local insights. The group has a presence in seven sub-Saharan Africa countries.