MasterCard Wins African Banker Award for Financial Inclusion

MasterCard has won the Award for Financial Inclusion at the 2014 African Banker Awards, in recognition of its far-reaching achievements in extending financial inclusion across Africa.

The Award recognises MasterCard as the company that best succeeded in delivering financial products and services to broad segments of society, thus contributing to financial inclusion, development and growth.

"Less than a quarter of adults in Africa have a bank account or banking product with a formal financial institution, so making financial inclusion a reality is central to our work in Africa," says Daniel Monehin, Division President, Sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard, who accepted the award at a ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda. He added: "Financial inclusion is essential to ensuring that economic growth across the continent is inclusive and sustained, benefiting individuals, merchants and governments. We would like to see all of Africa's economies successfully integrated into the global financial system."

The judges of the Awards noted the efforts by MasterCard to introduce electronic payments to various African markets, leading to positive social and economic impact. Local citizens have received access to safe and secure means of transacting, while companies were enabled to conduct their businesses beyond the constraining and risky cash environment.

MasterCard has implemented several programs on the continent, which have visibly moved the financial inclusion needle in many African countries. Some of these include:

• A multi-country licencing contract was signed with Ecobank, the broadest deal of its kind for MasterCard in Africa, which will introduce 60% of the Africa's entire population to MasterCard debit, prepaid and credit cards in 28 African countries;

• In East Africa, MasterCard partnered with Nakumatt, one of the largest supermarket chains in East Africa, to roll out one million Nakumatt Global MasterCard Prepaid cards (multi-currency, EMV, contactless card), providing an entry level solution for people who are coming into financial services for the first time;

• In Kenya, the company announced a partnership with Equity Bank to roll out five million EMV, contactless-enabled debit and prepaid cards. This partnership will extend into Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan;

• In Nigeria, the Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) also announced last year that MasterCard technology would power the National Electronic Identity Card;

• In South Africa, MasterCard celebrated a remarkable milestone as 10 million citizens now receive their grant disbursement payments electronically through the SASSA MasterCard Debit card;

• In Tunisia, the Central Bank of Tunisia selected MasterCard payment technology for a government travel card designed specifically for its employees;

• In Morocco, Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (BMCE) and Prepaid Solutions Company Vantage Payment Systems (VPS) launched a MasterCard Payroll Prepaid Program to address the financial needs of interim workers, in addition to extending the cards to local security agencies and cleaning companies;

• In Egypt, MasterCard and Etisalat, along with National Bank of Egypt (NBE) launched the mobile payment wallet titled "Flous", bringing Etisalat Egypt's subscriber base safe and convenient payment services through the power of their mobile phones;

• MasterCard conducted philanthropic and consumer education programmes, including teaching financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills, to the continent's most vulnerable and economically un-empowered class: young women

• The company implemented numerous training programs with customers across the continent focusing on card knowledge, skills development, merchant education and best acceptance practice.

Key to MasterCard business strategy is a collaborative approach with a multitude of public and private partners, including governments, telcos, merchants, financial institutions, technology providers, and NGOs to deliver affordable and interoperable financial products and services, giving millions of people access to financial services for the first time.

"MasterCard understands that solving for financial inclusion is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and cannot be done in isolation," says Monehin. "We are honoured to receive this Award, which reaffirms the value of broad partnerships between multiple entities and close collaboration between the private and public sector. We are all Partners for Good when it comes to Financial Inclusion."