Kopo Kopo, Mastercard to introduce digital payments solution in 11 sub-Saharan Africa countries

Merchant service provider, Kopo Kopo, has partnered with Mastercard to roll out Masterpass QR across 11 markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, impacting over 250,000 micro and small businesses over the next five years. The announcement was made during the inaugural Financial Times Africa Payments Innovation Summit, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The mobile payment solution will deliver an efficient and secure acceptance solution for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and a convenient consumer experience. Bank acquirers in partnership with Kopo Kopo, in the various markets, will enable previously excluded merchants to be financially included as part of the rollout.

(TOP: A Kenyan merchant using Mastercard and Kopo Kopo’s digital payment solution).

Merchants in Kenya will be the first to benefit from the partnership, with thousands of Kopo Kopo MSMEs gearing up to go live with the solution. Kopo Kopo will offer the service in partnership with Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) as part of its acquiring strategy in the country.

The Kenyan rollout reinforces the commitment made by Mastercard in February to empower over 150,000 merchants in the market – the Kopo Kopo partnership will help the technology company achieve a significant portion of this target. Additional markets impacted will include: Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, and Zimbabwe.

“We’re passionate about giving small businesses the tools they need to grow and prosper, and we see the mobile device as a way to financially enable millions of merchants in Africa. The use of mobile solutions is not expected to decline in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially if you consider that by 2022 there will be over 1 billion mobile subscribers in the region according to recent research.  And these prospects become more feasible for merchants given the fact that mobile services and devices are becoming more affordable,” said Ken Kinyua, CEO of Kopo Kopo.

Using Masterpass QR, business owners can increase revenue through the acceptance of mobile and digital payments, while reducing their exposure to the risks and costs of managing cash. Payment is instantaneous and guaranteed, meaning that merchants no longer need to wait days for transactions to reflect in their accounts.

Kinyua continued by saying that by partnering with Mastercard, Kopo Kopo will remain ahead of the curve, growing their network with a strong offering and providing the current merchant network with the latest and most secure payment solutions. He noted that the rollout of Masterpass QR will significantly impact the merchant business model, given that it provides an affordable solution not restricted by infrastructure challenges.

“We have adapted our model in Africa, working with partners in various sectors to get closer to MSMEs. Masterpass QR gives us the ability to introduce efficiency, supporting the growth of local businesses. We are one step closer to creating a continent that is less dependent on cash, and that is able to reach its full potential,” said Chris Bwakira, Vice President and Area Business Head for East Africa, Mastercard.

In delivering a more inclusive and empowered continent, multiple factors need to be considered. MSMEs in emerging markets contribute significantly to job creation, with four out of five new positions coming from small businesses, yet more than 50 percent of these enterprises lack access to finance, hindering their growth and economic contribution.

“Whilst merchant payments is a growing opportunity in some of the more developed East African mobile money markets, it remains largely untapped in the larger African space. We’ve spent the last five years building a financial ecosystem to empower these entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses – our partnership with Mastercard will see us build greater momentum and adoption through all our target markets,” concluded Kinyua.

Masterpass QR enables millions SMEs across Africa to accept fast and secure digital payments, thereby addressing challenges previously faced by small business owners who were unable to afford point of sale infrastructure and were forced to transact in cash. Masterpass QR provides SMEs with a secure acceptance solution that works across various shopping channels.


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