MasterCard Opens East African HQ in Nairobi
BUSINESS| Feb. 3, 2012, 6:55 p.m.
By Carole Kimutai, Nairobi, Kenya
MasterCard Worldwide, a global payments and technology company, today launched its official East African regional headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. This development brings the number of MasterCard offices across the African continent to five, with other offices operational in Cairo, Casablanca, Lagos, Johannesburg and now Nairobi.
Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, welcomed MasterCard’s announcement. “We are pleased to welcome MasterCard to East Africa and in particular to Kenya, as we see the region’s growth path continue. MasterCard’s products will see the benefits of inclusion into the financial system extend to many more East Africans, giving them the opportunity to transact electronically with people and companies and so keep their precious money safe and secure, helping to build prosperity for their future.”
“Nairobi’s reputation as an African commerce, trade and development hub made it a strategically sound location for MasterCard to establish its regional headquarters. We believe it is a natural recognition of Kenya’s role as the financial heart of the East Africa region,” says Daniel Monehin, Area Head, East & West Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, MasterCard Worldwide.
The Nairobi office will act as MasterCard’s liaison office for customer banks, business associates and consumers in its main markets of Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as across the rest of the East African region, bringing the organisation’s knowledge of electronic payments best practice to these markets.
This will include a significant emphasis in the areas of card knowledge and skills development, advising on development of card acceptance infrastructure, new products, and developing partnerships with 'technology enablers,' as well as retailer education and best acceptance practice.
Gateway to East Africa
“We are establishing the new Nairobi office as a gateway through which MasterCard will liaise with its existing customers across the East African region. It will also be a launch pad for further expansion across the region, by providing advice to support MasterCard’s ongoing quest to shift consumers from traditional cash payments to non-cash payment systems, so that they can avoid the costs, risks and inefficiencies associated with cash,” comments Monehin.
Bringing the benefits of electronic payments to people across the African continent is a primary focus for MasterCard. “East Africa, and indeed Africa as a whole, has always been heavily reliant on cash – both in the consumer and corporate sectors,” says Charlton Goredema, Vice President and Market Manager for East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands for MasterCard Worldwide.
“This dependence is costly – the costs of printing notes and keeping them secure are significant – and cash payments restrict an individual or company’s economic activity to their immediate geographic area.”
Local track record
MasterCard has already been active in the Kenyan market, working with banks and other business organisations to advise on developing payment solutions that are best suited for Kenyans. Most recently, in collaboration with Airtel and Standard Chartered Bank, the world's first virtual card that operates off a mobile wallet was launched in Kenya.
“PayOnline is a unique virtual card payment solution, developed specifically to address the needs of consumers in Kenya. At the Mobile World Congress 2011 this product was awarded top honours as the Best Mobile Money Product or Solution. PayOnline makes it possible for Kenyan Airtel clients to shop online, even if they do not have a bank account,” says Goredema.
“This is just one way that MasterCard products are working to extend financial inclusion to all through the development of solutions that take into account the unique attributes of each local market.”
“MasterCard products make it simple and safe to process electronic payments anywhere in the world,” Goredema points out. “Consumers using electronic payment systems don’t have to worry whether the cash they are carrying is sufficient for their intended purchase, and they do not have to fear for their security, as is common when carrying a large amount of cash on their person.”
In addition, the electronic payments solutions brought to market by MasterCard facilitate transparency in banking, through innovation and security that provide clear transaction records at every step, allowing protection from fraudulent activities. Goredema believes that these solutions are key to the continued success of East Africa’s rapid economic growth.
“MasterCard’s products include debit, prepaid, mobile and credit card payment solutions, which can be used to avoid the pitfalls of cash,” says Goredema. “We have already used these products in a variety of revolutionary applications on the African continent, including prepaid solutions for transport, and the secure disbursement of citizens’ social security payments.”
MasterCard’s global payments expertise will be very relevant across East Africa and particularly in Kenya, as the country evolves to implement the National Payments Systems Bill, passed by the country’s government during 2011.
“We believe that the Bill is a recognition that efficient payment mechanisms are essential to the development of the Kenyan economy, and we look forward to working with policymakers to bring electronic payment solutions to this market,” says Goredema. “We have worked on similar projects across the globe, where we have responded to local needs with products that offer the best of MasterCard’s global experience.”
MasterCard will also be offering the services of MasterCard Advisors into the East African region, helping to ensure that best-practice principles are implemented across the payments network. MasterCard Advisors is the professional services arm of MasterCard that provides payments consulting, information, analytics, and customised services to financial institutions, governments and retailers worldwide.
“We have invested significant resources into understanding East Africa, its business dynamics, how its consumers operate and the unique conditions that make this region one of the most exciting places to do business,” says Goredema. “We realise that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy and each market has its own unique challenges, opportunities and needs. MasterCard has invested extensively in research both on the African continent, and globally, and we are equipped to offer advice on payment industry best practice at every level.
“For MasterCard, the opportunities Africa brings forth will push the payments frontier faster and further than ever before and we continue our vision to realise a world beyond cash, bringing greater efficiencies to the payments system,” concludes Goredema. “We look forward to now working even more closely with our customer financial institutions, businesses and consumers across East Africa to leverage new technologies and innovative payment methods to enable safe, simple and convenient ways for consumers to pay.”
MORE BUSINESS NEWS
FNB, PayPal bring global eCommerce to BotswanaFirst National Bank (FNB) has announced it will be extending the partnership between FNB and PayPal to offer the PayPal Withdraw Service, previously available only in South Africa, in Botswana. Read More
Survey: businesses have less than two years to make digital inroadsProgress has announced the results of its recent global survey: "Are Businesses Really Digitally Transforming or Living in Digital Denial?" Read More
Gartner: profit opportunities exist for PC vendorsThe worldwide PC market registered one of its lowest quarterly growth rates in the first quarter 2016, but Gartner, Inc. said several profit opportunities exist for PC vendors. Read More
MTN Business makes headway to be an ICT Partner of ChoiceMTN Business, the enterprise business unit of MTN SA, plans to focus on three key areas in a bid to become the ICT partner of choice, namely, getting the basics right, accelerating growth and diversifying its revenue streams. Read More
MTN Ghana celebrates 20 years of operations in GhanaMTN Ghana has unveiled its 20th Anniversary logo at a grand ceremony held at the iconic MTN House in Accra to officially mark the 20 years of operations in the country. Read More
Copy Cat bets on innovation to grow market shareKenyan technology company Copy Cat Group is implementing a new transformational strategy to increase its market share in the ICT market. Read More
Infrastructure investments highlight bright spots for SSA economic diversificationThe commodity super cycle may have ended, but there are certainly bright spots for investors across sub-Saharan Africa, IHS has told the World Economic Forum on Africa. Read More
Africa’s CEOs look to innovation and technology to stimulate growthCEOs in Africa are ramping up their efforts to innovate and find new ways to do business on the continent, according to PwC’s Africa Business Agenda released at the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali. Read More
4th Africa Business Forum to be staged in EthiopiaRegistration is open for the 4th Africa Business Forum to be held on Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, East Africa. Read More
Airtel divests telecoms tower assets in DRC to Helios Towers AfricaBharti Airtel International and Helios Towers Africa have announced an agreement for the divestment of approximately 950 telecoms towers in the DRC from Airtel to Helois Towers Africa. Read More
FEATURED STORYGovernment should encourage youths in ICT early
Youths should be given more encouragement to develop their ICT skills, an 11-year-old app developer told Kokumo Goodie.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHIBM Opens First Cloud Data Centre in South Africa
IBM is opening a new IBM Cloud Data Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new cloud center is the result of a close collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom and is designed to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent.
COMPANY NEWSEnhancing your security posture to fight new ransomware threats
Petya ransomware is proving to be one of the top cybersecurity stories of 2016.Arbor stops malware in its tracks
There is always a substantial amount of banking trojan activity taking place, however, recent developments have intensified the threat landscape.