Zimbabwe on Mastercard’s radar

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GLOBAL payments and technology company, Mastercard, believes the Zimbabwean economy is on a new path making the country an attractive investment destination.

In an interview at Mastercard’s “Connecting Tomorrow” event held in Barcelona recently, Mr Mark Elliott Mastercard’s Southern Africa division president said there seems to be a willingness to collaborate in Zimbabwe to drive innovation in payments.

Mastercard is partnering with various banks and mobile money service provider EcoCash to make it safer and easier for consumers and merchants to transact electronically.

“Our role in Zimbabwe is one of enablement. What we are trying to do is to enable electronification of payments and solve customer pain points.

“There are cash shortages and that’s quite unique in the world because in a lot of countries there is a lot of cash floating around.

“Another thing we need to enable is broader interoperability so that the customer experience is integrated and consistent. Ultimately, we need to also think about how we can create better customer experiences,” he said.

Nine Zimbabwean banks took part in the two-day conference where Mastercard showcased a variety of innovative products.

One of Zimbabwe’s leading mobile payment solutions, EcoCash, took part in the forum and was represented by its CEO, Ms Natalie Jabangwe. She said part of their engagements at the forum or outside of them was to see how much more they can do with Mastercard as their partnership dates back to 2014.

“The flagship product that we are looking at is the Masterpass QR Scan and Pay, which we launched at the Harare Agricultural Show in August, and moving further towards smartness and digitisation. We have to ensure there is adoption by all of our customers but most importantly to make it easier for our informal sector merchants because now they don’t need any affordability in order to have a Point of Sale (POS) device.

“We’ve totally removed the barrier to the acquisition of a POS. All you need is a QR code card that is embodied in a plastic to keep it safe but no longer does a merchant need to fork out a penny at all for them to have a POS, that’s quite revolutionary,” she said.

Ms Jabangwe said the real opportunity is to digitise the informal sector as merchants do not have an excuse, in terms of cost, for not adopting an electronic value proposition as a cash register.

“The relevance of our participation is making cashless solutions affordable and removing the barrier to cost particularly on the merchant side, it’s difficult for an informal sector merchant to grow his business at low cost in terms of the kind of tools he requires to be able to run that business. Something unique that is evolving in our business is our ability to merge the consumer and enterprise plain,” she said.