Mastercard aiming to create a cashless Africa
The majority of Africa depends heavily on cash for retail transactions and as a result, there has been an increase in innovative digital payment systems from leading technology companies such as Mastercard.
Cash hinders growth in Africa as it places a strain on economies through production costs, crime, corruption and fraud prevention as well as the dangers associated with carrying cash. Small businesses are also negatively impacted due to the costs associated with accessing, securing, transporting and storing cash which further constrains growth if they don’t have the facilities to accept electronic payments.
Mastercard believes that expanding access to financial tools and providing people with the knowledge to use them, economic and financial barriers can be broken thus leading to a higher standard of living. Mastercard’s business strategy and vision is to create a cashless world by using innovative technology, infrastructure and ability to create solutions enabling the translation from poverty to prosperity. In order to make a sustainable impact, they have partnered with the ministry of finance and banks in Egypt for a project involving the government paying its employees safely and efficiently using a payroll card programme as well as a mobile money platform linked to citizens’ national identification.
To turn cash into digital transactions, relevant solutions need to be designed to solve the requirements of the people and this can vary by geography, individual preference and the community. In 2015, Mastercard set up a Financial Inclusion Lab in Kenya for the sole purpose of research and development for developing cost-effective solutions and extending the reach of digital financial services. Mastercard also has a QR digital payment and acceptance solution which allows people to make and receive payments by scanning a QR code which financially includes those in remote areas without traditional card payment infrastructure.