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Wari, Mastercard forge crusade against cash in 35 African markets

Thursday 22 December 2016 | 10:43 AM CET

Wari, an African technology company, and Mastercard signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement that will help strengthen the Wari offering for its users but also the digital payment ecosystem in 35 African markets.

The two technology companies reinforced their focus on providing all citizens with access to financial solutions, removing the need for cash and delivering more efficient ways for people to pay for goods and services. In support of this commitment, a suite of digital payment solutions will be introduced across the existing Wari network.

As part of the roll-out, the MyWari app will offer a wide range of Mastercard digital solutions that will benefit both consumers and merchants, including remittance service by HomeSend, giving customers the ability to send and receive funds regardless of the payment method, cash, wallet, debit or credit card.

Wari users will automatically have access to a number of diverse operators from banks, telcos and money transfer operators located across the world. Users will also benefit from using a virtual card solution, via the app, that gives access to funds, which is linked to the customers prepaid, debit or credit physical card.

There is also granted access to Masterpass QR, a mobile payment solution that gives Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) access to a new way to accept payments for their goods and services, helping them go beyond cash and traditional point-of-sale (POS) terminals.

The suite of digital payment solutions will also include prepaid, debit and credit Mastercard cards widely accepted at millions of locations worldwide. These payment cards offer EMV chip and pin technology, ensuring that all transactions are secure.

Daniel Monehin, Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard, explained that, for the inclusion of all Africans into the formal financial sector to be truly realized, partnerships with stakeholders across the spectrum would be required. Monehin reinforced that both Mastercard and Wari shared a vision of a world beyond cash, where the true potential of economies will be realized through the efficiencies introduced by innovative digital payment solutions.

Sub-Saharan Africa requires innovative solutions and strong collaborations across sectors to help drive economic growth. According to recent research, mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa is currently at over 71% and steadily increasing, making mobile driven solutions even more important. With an unemployment rate of 8% and only 28% of adults in the region having a formal bank account, Sub-Saharan Africa needs innovative solutions, such strong remittance and other mobile solutions, and strong collaborations to achieve this growth.

He highlighted that Africa’s remittance market, for example, has opened up a number of opportunities for driving financial inclusion due to the lack of legacy issues. According to research by the World Bank, the Sub-Saharan Africa region had an inward remittance flow of over USD 34 billion, with outward remittance flows of approximately USD 4 billion.

“The partnership with Mastercard will provide us with the ability to boost digital payment acceptance in the markets that we operate. With the Mastercard experience in securing payments across the world, customers can rest assured that their payment, whether done by card or mobile, will be secure. This alliance reinforces our commitment to provide to our partners and users, access to easy to use digital solutions. The alliance between Wari and Mastercard is an important milestone in making financial inclusion a reality for all Africans,” says Kabirou Mbodje, Wari’s CEO.

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