MasterCard Makes another Stride in Africa with Ecobank Licensing Pact (Jan. 16, 2014)
MasterCard has finalized a licensing deal with pan-African banking group Ecobank under which the bank’s customers will have access to MasterCard’s payment solutions. Building upon a memorandum of understanding between the companies in 2011, the deal licenses Ecobank subsidiaries in 28 African nations to issue and accept MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards, beginning early this year.
“The provision of convenient, reliable and accessible financial products and services forms the bedrock of Ecobank’s pan-African strategy,” said Patrick Akinwuntan, group executive director for domestic banking, Ecobank. “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.”
For MasterCard, the Ecobank partnership could be a major step forward in the network’s goal of bringing electronic payments to cash-dependent economies like those in sub-Saharan Africa. According to MasterCard, more than 85 percent of retail payments worldwide are still conducted in cash or check—and the percentage is even higher in Africa. “However, the combination of a rapidly expanding middle class and steadily improving financial literacy, supported by robust technology, is increasing the appetite for card usage in Africa, providing opportunities for the advancement of a cashless society across the continent,” the bank said.