‘Use Electronic Payment System For Financial Inclusion’

elecetronic paymentAfrican governments must encourage the use of electronic payment systems to promote promote inclusion and growth of the continent, President of MasterCard in charge of Middle East and Africa, Mr. Michael Miebach has said.

Speaking at the MasterCard Knowledge Leadership Forum in Accra on Tuesday, he said, provision of financial services to citizenry was key to addressing poverty on the continent.

The forum, the first to be organised in Accra, was attended by players from the banking and financial services sector and was meant to discuss the enormous investing potentials and as well challenges of the continent.

The forum was also used to launch MasterCard’s 2014 African Cities Growth report, which assesses inclusive urbanisation and growth potential.

The report   ranked Accra, the capital of Ghana, as the African city with the highest potential for inclusive growth, rule of law and ease of doing business among other 74 African countries.

This is the second consecutive year that Accra has taken the top spot on the Index.

“Inclusive growth occurs when the benefits of an expanding economy are widely shared with the population,’’ says the 38-page report.

Mr. Miebach in his remarks said only 20 per cent of the population had access to financial services, and 90 per cent of business transactions were done on cash basis.

“At MasterCard, we believe that the only way to ensure sustained growth, inclusive economic development is through financial inclusion of all individuals, communities and countries,’’ he said.

He called for a public-private partnership, saying it was the key to driving the growth of the continent.

Mr. Miebach said the company was excited about the huge investment potentials of Africa, especially West Africa.

He said the West African market was a priority to company and constitute the biggest market   in MasterCard’s Africa business portfolio.

“The low financial penetration poses huge potential for the company,” Mr. Miebach said, adding that, “the company is putting strategies in place to take advantage of the huge investment opportunities in the sub-region.’’

The President of MasterCard in charge of Sub-Saharan Africa in his remarks says strengthening the manufacturing sector was the key to creating jobs for the teeming youth.

He called on Information Communication Technology companies to develop products to address the basic challenges facing the continent, saying the challenges facing the continent “are tremendous business opportunities.”

The MasterCard Vice President and Area Business Head of West Africa, Ms Omoke Ojomuyide, said the forum was the first to be organised in Accra.

She said the forum was initiated in 2010 to discuss the investment opportunities in Ghana as well as deepening electronic payment in the country.

“MasterCard is putting up this forum to discuss measures to deepen electronic payment system and how the electronic payment system can be used to better the lives of the citizens,” Ms. Ojomuyide said. By Kingsley Asare

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