July 22, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
In a bid to make banking less cumbersome for their customers in the country and across the world, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and MasterCard have announced a partnership which will see UBA issuing MasterCard in 18 new markets in Africa.
UBA is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions, with operations in 19 countries and three global financial centres – London, Paris and New York.
MasterCard is a technology leader in the global payments industry. They operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.
The partnership, which came into effect in the second quarter of 2016, will see UBA issue MasterCard credit, debit and prepaid cards across 18 new markets in Africa.
The partnership will also focus on increased payments infrastructure across Africa, including the roll out of point-of-sale and mobile-point-of-sale technology, to ensure merchants accept the cards when introduced in these markets.
MasterCard and UBA are partnering across 19 African countries in which UBA currently operates: Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director-Designate of UBA plc, said as the needs of their customers change, they are adapting through strategic innovations and partnerships to provide them with excellent and convenient services.
He said that through strategic partnerships, they are able to accelerate the drive for financial inclusion and economic well-being across the African continent.
Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard, Daniel Monehin, says the focus on infrastructure and the roll out of easy-to-access solutions is a key part of driving financial inclusion and a move away from cash in the markets.
He continued that the innovation in payments space, coupled with UBA’s extensive pan-African network, will mean the introduction of increased competition and a stronger financial sector in these regions.
Quoting the World Bank, he said there were approximately 2.5 billion people who are financially excluded from access to financial tools that create economic empowerment and reduce poverty, adding that MasterCard has the tools and resources, including potential partnerships, to drive real change.
He said that on June 27,, 2016 MasterCard set itself a goal to connect 40 million micro and small merchants to its electronic payments network within five years and to expand on the company’s Universal Financial Access 2020 commitment made last year.
He said to date, financial inclusion has been predominantly centred on providing the underserved and unbanked with tools and transaction accounts, adding that it remains a critical need of two billion unbanked people, the majority of whom are women, forced to operate in a cash economy.
He noted that in order for financial inclusion efforts to truly have an impact, there needs to be equal focus on both access and usage.
“Collaborating with UBA has allowed for maximum impact when it comes to changing lives and introducing smarter ways for people to pay in Africa. Creating financially inclusive societies is dependent on these kinds of partnerships and we will continue to look for ways to partner in Africa going forward,” Monehin said.