Mastercard has partnered with Vconnect, an online business listing service, to empower micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs) as part of its efforts to drive financial inclusion and literacy in Africa.
Nigeria will be the first market to benefit from the partnership, which will be rolled out over a three-year period. Vconnect will work closely with Mastercard and its partners to provide MSMEs with Mastercard’s mobile payment solution, Masterpass QR. Additionally merchants will have access to an array of digital tools that will help to enable their online presence, ensure effective business management and provide access to finance.
“With access to Masterpass QR, these merchants will be able to accept fast and secure digital payments, removing the need for cash,” said Omokehinde Adebanjo, VP and Area Business Head, West Africa, Mastercard. “Additionally merchants will be given access to skills that have the potential of helping the business owner to develop a sustainable business.”
Vconnect currently has a community of over one million MSMEs registered on its database. These businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of the economy.
Naveen Luthra, Head of Growth and Partnerships at Vconnect, added, “We are thrilled to partner with Mastercard to ensure we are working together to support Africa’s growth. This collaboration represents what is possible when we combine global capabilities with firsthand experience.”
According to the World Bank, MSMEs make up approximately 60 percent of employment and 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in emerging economies, indicating the vital role in economic development. In Nigeria MSMEs comprise about 96 percent of the country’s businesses.
However, these business owners often battle to access finance, with approximately 70 percent of smaller businesses in emerging economies lacking access to credit loans. Combined with a lack of critical financial literacy skills and gaps in infrastructure, many businesses fail.
“Through this partnership, we aim to bring about improvement in the way these businesses operate to drive growth and new opportunities,” said Adebanjo.
VConnect is a Lagos-based online portal where people hire local service professionals for all their needs, from planning a wedding to renting a house to planning their next travel.