Lagos - More than 60 percent of the continent’s population is poised to gain access to electronic payments following a multi-country licensing agreement between Ecobank and MasterCard.
In a statement from Lagos, the companies said the agreement was the culmination of a Memorandum of Understanding originally signed in November 2011.
Under the terms of the 2011 MOU, MasterCard will partner with Ecobank to explore joint business development opportunities across Central, East, West and Southern Africa where Ecobank has a presence. In addition, the banking group will become an issuer and acquirer of MasterCard products in more than 1,200 branches across Africa, giving Ecobank’s customers access to over 35.9 million acceptance points – including 2.1 million ATMs – in over 210 countries and territories worldwide where MasterCard cards are accepted.
Ecobank subsidiaries in 28 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa are now licensed to issue and accept electronic payments through MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards. With this partnership, Ecobank’s customers in this fast-growing region will have access to MasterCard’s credit, debit and prepaid card products, whilst MasterCard will leverage Ecobank’s unrivalled pan-African footprint to provide its electronic payments solutions to a wider customer base.
“The provision of convenient, reliable and accessible financial products and services forms the bedrock of Ecobank’s Pan African strategy,” said Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive Director responsible for Domestic Banking.
“We also recognize that partnerships with leading global players such as MasterCard are key to accelerating the migration of our customers to a ‘cashless society’ throughout Africa.”
Ecobank’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Thierry Tanoh, said, “This agreement demonstrates Ecobank’s vision which is to provide our customers with convenient, accessible and reliable financial products and services as part of our commitment to build a world class pan-African bank and contribute to the economic development and financial integration of Africa.”
Ecobank is now licensed by MasterCard in the following 28 countries:
Burkina Faso, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea (Conakry), Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The collaboration comes at a time when MasterCard is working in partnership with governments and financial institutions around the world to broaden usage and acceptance of electronic payments, thus promoting their benefits relative to cash transactions of convenience, security and reliability. Today, over 85 percent of retail payments globally are still carried out using cash or check, with the percentage being much higher in Africa.
– CAJ News