Banking on innovation to create digital economies.

Author:Bwakira, Chris

Africa has emerged as a centre of innovation, particularly in the development of digital economies. Every day, this is proven through the introduction of new and more relevant solutions that truly make a difference in people's lives. It is this that drives Mastercard: the desire to develop a cashless Africa.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of trends that impact the lives of people on the continent is helping Mastercard to overcome challenges and deliver inclusive solutions. One of the key trends having a significant impact on how people engage with the world around them is the mobile device. Mobile phone penetration is forecast to pass the 100 percent mark as early as 2021--indicating that the technology will be a platform that should be focused on given the ease of access. There are naturally challenges to still overcome, such as data costs, but the mobile phone is presenting exciting opportunities to connect and empower millions of people more efficiently than ever before.

In this way, investing in the development and implementation of payment systems, driven on mobile devices, is imperative to move Africa and its people forward. Mastercard devotes extensive resources and time to crafting tangible systems and tools that enable all of the continent's citizens to participate in the formal economy, with focus on building sustainable partnerships.

Invested in the continent, Mastercard values the importance of working with partners across sectors to displace cash through smart technology solutions. These partnerships with financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses are helping to make payments safer, simpler and quicker than ever before.

Partnerships across the public and private sector have resulted in notable milestones being achieved, including the introduction of Masterpass QR, which was first introduced to the African continent in Nigeria in August 2016 and has since also been launched in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal and Ghana with Ecobank. Altogether, the solution will be rolled out in 33 markets and is focused on including 100 million new consumers, all of which will benefit from the mobile-driven, interoperable Person-to-Merchant (P2M) payment solution's ability to bring businesses and citizens into the financial mainstream.

Masterpass QR allows micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to accept secure payments via their mobile banking app. The solution removes the historic challenges of acceptance of...

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