Mastercard and Cellulant have launched a new product that will enable millions of Africans to pay globally and shop online with or without a bank account, through a simple and secure payment experience.
The partnership with Cellulant plays a role in advancing Mastercard’s worldwide commitment to financial inclusion to bring a total of 1 billion people, and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.
The partnership launched on the sidelines of the 2022 Global System for Mobile Communications Association Mobile World Congress (GSMA MWC) meeting in Kigali, will enable customers to pay globally with a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to the Cellulant wallet, Tingg.
With a population of 1.4 billion, African consumers will be able to shop from well-known global digital commerce brands, paying quickly and securely for leisure shopping, travel, accommodation, entertainment, and streaming services while at home or or traveling.
The announcement comes as digital commerce and online shopping is thriving across Africa and the need for safer means of shopping online increases.
According to the Economy 2021 Outlook conducted by the Mastercard Economics Institute, 20-30% of the COVID-19-related surge in digital commerce will remain a permanent feature of overall retail spending, and shopping through mobile is largely how consumers access these opportunities.
Across Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile devices are the primary channel used to connect to the internet. According to GSMA, smartphone connections are expected to reach 678 million in 2025, with a penetration of 65%.
As a result, alternative payment methods driven by mobile payments have increasingly begun to dominate the digital payments landscape. Consequently, consumers increasingly expect access to a broader range of online offers and digital financial services.
Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Mastercard said that by focusing on the provision of multi-use, omnichannel digital payment solutions, Mastercard is enabling its partners, such as Cellulant, to improve their operational efficiency, diversify their revenue, and transition seamlessly into digital commerce.
“We see the increasing proliferation of Fintech’s as a strategic opportunity to add value by creating more connections, better user experiences, and greater choice for consumers,” Ajmal said.
David Waithaka, Chief Revenue Officer, Cellulant Group said that the seamless payment experiences are the backbone for accelerating economic growth across Africa.
This move is expected to instant payment respond to concerns raised in the first State of Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems in Africa report (SIIPS – Africa) launched at the GSMA MWC by AfricaNenda- which for more inclusivity to leverage the current payment systems and infrastructure to benefit Africans and push the African Continental Free Trade Area agenda.
At the launch of the SIIPS, Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire asked the AfricaNenda to consider doing research on the Fintech ecosystem to deeply inform the market operations.
In a related development, a Mastercard study released October 26, 2022, showed that Fintechs are emerging as Africa’s most vibrant sector, in which startups in Africa grew 81% in 2021, with South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya emerging as key hubs on the continent.