Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
MASTERCARD president and CEO Mr Ajay Banga, has reaffirmed his company’s willingness to set up office in Zimbabwe, to support the country’s drive to create a new wave of digital payments and inclusive growth.
Mr Banga said this in Harare on Monday during the company’s CEO Conversations event, a gathering of senior leaders from top financial institutions, mobile network operators and retailers.
“Too many people and businesses are still excluded from the financial mainstream,” said Mr Banga.
“This leaves them without the things we take for granted; a way to save money for a rainy day, get loans, or insure themselves or their crops.
“(Through) harnessing our global technologies and expertise, our Zimbabwean team will closely collaborate with all stakeholders to solve local challenges and enable more inclusion in the formal financial system.”
Mr Banga said Mastercard will collaborate with local private and public sector players to drive greater financial inclusion through the implementation of innovative payment technologies.
He met with key Government and private sector stakeholders including Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya, to formalise Mastercard’s support for payments innovation in the country.
Mr Banga also announced his firm’s plans to set up an office in Harare which will be tasked with co-ordinating its efforts to address financial inclusion. Financial inclusion remains a serious challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa where a measly 42,6 percent of the adult population has bank accounts.
The new office is expected to allow Mastercard to provide more effective support to its customers in neighbouring Southern African countries.
Mastercard’s expertise and products will be relevant across Southern Africa and in Zimbabwe, as the country implements the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, which aims to increase access to formal financial services from 69 percent in 2014 to at least 90 percent by 2020.
RBZ boss Dr Mangudya said: “We see Mastercard’s investment as a positive development that will help us achieve our long-standing vision and our strategic plan to accelerate the shift towards cashless payments, modernise payment systems and infrastructure, and build an inclusive financial sector that supports the socio-economic development of the country.”
As part of efforts to increase financial inclusion in Zimbabwe, Mastercard recently partnered with EcoCash to launch EcoCash Scan & Pay, offering a simple, secure and instant QR code-based mobile payments solution to merchants and consumers.
Since it leverages low-cost QR code technology rather than physical point of sale devices, Masterpass QR makes it simple and affordable for small and informal traders to accept digital payments. Mastercard is a technology company in the global payments industry which operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Its products and solutions make everyday commerce activities — such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances — easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.