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Mastercard Partners Samsung, Airtel and Asante to Drive Digital Inclusion in Africa

Ola Olaoluwa
Ola Olaoluwa

Mastercard today announced a partnership with Samsung, Airtel Africa and Asante Financial Services Group ("Asante") to launch a Pay-on-Demand payments platform and drive the digital economy across Africa, starting from Uganda.

Mastercard's strategy is based on collaboration and partnerships that drive innovation and this is another example. By enabling digital access to everyday products and services for under-served consumers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the payments platform will aim at driving digital and financial inclusion and can lead to improved economic possibilities for people and businesses.

Photo Credit: Mastercard NewsRoom

The platform, built by Mastercard Labs, aims to bring convenient financing opportunities to consumers, entrepreneurs and merchants across Africa, helping to combat the socioeconomic problems they face from restricted access to financing.

Through Samsung's pay-on-demand mobile devices and Asante's insight as a leading provider of digital financial services, the innovative platform provides effective hand-set loans for consumers. Telecommunications and mobile money services provider, Airtel Africa will coordinate the delivery of the product.

The Samsung devices are embedded with Samsung Knox platform which provides a secure environment for corporate data and apps protecting both business and personal privacy from boot-up, runtime, and even when powered off.

According to a report by All Africa, this partnership will help to deliver convenient asset financing to consumers and MSMEs through the convenience of their smart handsets at a low upfront cost while distributing payments over time. As the product is used, importantly, the individual or business will establish a digital transaction history, which can be leverage for making other financing solutions accessible, such as credit, savings, investments and insurance.

For small business owners and entrepreneurs, this is particularly beneficial as it offers opportunity to obtain financing to drive their business forward as well as build digital capabilities for their everyday business. It is envisaged that Pay-on-Demand users will also be able to access digital payments through Mastercard's virtual card and Mastercard Quick Response (QR Codes) functionality on their Airtel mobile money app enabling them to make digital transactions across face to face and online merchants.

There are 14 markets being considered across Africa, piloting first in Uganda in October, subject to regulatory approvals. This partnership builds on the broader digital transformation partnership between Mastercard and Airtel Africa across sub-Saharan Africa. The other markets include Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, DRC, Gabon, Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Seychelles, Chad, Niger and Congo Brazzaville. This partnership also builds on the global partnership with Samsung to provide Pay-on-Demand mobile devices.

Uganda In Focus:

Population - 44.2 million (Compared to South Africa's 59.6 million)

GDP: $34.38 billion (Compared to South Africa's $369.85 billion)

GDP Per Capita: $780 (Compared to South Africa's $6,193)

Digital inclusion

Ola Olaoluwa

Writer | Economist | Actor | Fashion Entrepreneur