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MTN, Mastercard boost e-commerce payments across Africa

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Mastercard and MTN today announced a strategic partnership to enable millions of consumers in 16 countries across Africa to make global e-commerce payments safely and securely.

Through a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to MTN MoMo (Mobile Money) wallets, consumers and merchants can engage with brands and businesses abroad through digital commerce, extending their reach to an international marketplace.

This as more and more people on the African continent are taking to e-commerce as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, ITWeb reported that local mobile network operators have seen significant traffic increase in their e-commerce channels, as the COVID-19 pandemic drives more consumers online.

In terms of the usage of the MoMo platform, the telco said it has seen huge success, with the app now exceeding two million active users.

A new study by the Mastercard Economics Institute says the COVID-19 pandemic has presented Africa with massive growth opportunities for fintech companies, predicting the sector will, this year, play a catalytic role in boosting financial inclusion on the continent.

In a statement, MTN and Mastercard say across Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile devices are the primary channel used to connect to the Internet.

According to GSMA, by 2025, it is estimated there will be 300 million more people using their devices to access Internet services.

In light of this significant growth, the companies say mobile financial services have become the dominant form of digital payments, with twice as many mobile money accounts as bank accounts in the region.

As a result, MTN and Mastercard say consumers increasingly expect to have access to a broader range of digital financial services.

However, they note that consumers and merchants are mostly restricted to a local base of online and offline businesses, therefore curtailing customers’ ability to engage in global commerce.

Through this strategic partnership, MTN customers with a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to their MoMo wallets can make payments to global online merchants through a seamless and secure digital payment experience on Web sites and mobile applications. The service is available regardless of whether or not the customer has a bank account.

According to the companies, the solution will enable consumers to explore and shop at well-known global e-commerce brands, and pay quickly and securely for leisure shopping, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services and more.

It will also allow small business owners to purchase from suppliers abroad and pay with the virtual payment solution, they note.

“We are very excited about this partnership with Mastercard, which is another step in realising our ambition to build Africa’s largest fintech platform, accelerating economic and social development through digital innovation to the benefit of citizens across the continent and beyond,” says MTN group chief digital and fintech officer Serigne Dioum.

“This noteworthy partnership is another step to enable our customers to participate in the global economy. We are resolute that accelerated financial inclusion is a potent enabler of socio-economic development that empowers the most vulnerable in society,” he says.

Amnah Ajmal, executive vice-president for market development at Mastercard Middle East and Africa, says: “This significant milestone will enable millions of MTN customers to benefit from global digital commerce and drive digital and financial inclusion across Africa through easy and secure access to financial services.

“At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is based on partnerships and collaboration. This agreement with MTN shows we can deliver innovative digital solutions that have a far-reaching impact and realise the true potential of inclusive growth across the continent. Partnering with MTN allows us to accelerate our global pledge to connect one billion people to the digital economy by 2025, bringing us closer to a world beyond cash.”

MTN and Mastercard first launched the digital payment solution in 2018 for MoMo customers. MTN will extend the virtual payment solution offering throughout its fintech footprint.

It believes the expansion of this payment solution will play a significant role in driving the growth of digital inclusion and e-commerce, thus increasing MTN MoMo customer inclusion into the global economy.

Initially designed to facilitate the transfer of cash between mobile users, MTN’s MoMo offering is now much broader – including loans, insurance, remittances and payments.

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