Mastercard President and chief executive, Ajay Banga, has pledged his company’s support for Zimbabwe’s drive to create a new wave of digital payments and inclusive growth.
Banga yesterday met with Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Dr John Mangudya, Government and private sector stakeholders to formalise Mastercard’s support for payments innovation in Zimbabwe.
The Mastercard chief outlined how his company will collaborate with local private and public sector partners to drive greater financial inclusion through the implementation of innovative payment technologies.
He also disclosed MasterCard’s plans to establish an office in Harare to coordinate its efforts to address financial inclusion – a pressing challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa where only 42.6 percent of the adult population has access to an account.
Speaking to senior leaders from Zimbabwe’s top financial institutions, mobile network operators and retailers at the company’s CEO Conversations event in Harare, Banga said the new office will allow Mastercard to provide more effective support to its customers in neighbouring Southern African countries.
“Too many people and businesses are still excluded from the financial mainstream. 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,” said Banga.
“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.”
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.
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 payments systems and infrastructure, and build an inclusive financial sector that supports the socio-economic development of the country.”
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.
“We applaud the remarkable steps Zimbabwe has taken towards modernising its electronic payments sector and the significant strides it is taking towards a more inclusive society,” said Mark Elliott, Division President for Mastercard, Southern Africa.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner more closely with Zimbabwe’s financial institutions, businesses and public sector to bring greater interoperability and payments innovation to the benefit of consumers and merchants.”