As digital commerce and online shopping continue to take root across the African continent on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, efficient payment processing systems are increasingly becoming a necessity.
The Economy 2021 Outlook conducted by the Mastercard Economics Institute, reports that 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 will continue to access these opportunities.
A new collaboration between global payment processing company, Mastercard and pan-African payments company, Cellulant, therefore, seeks to enhance this new norm by allowing millions of Cellulant customers across Africa to shop and pay online with global merchants, wherever Mastercard is accepted.
The Mastercard virtual payment solution, linked to Cellulant’s payment gateway – Tingg, can unlock a host of opportunities for consumers, whether they have a bank account or not.
With this payment solution, consumers will be able to shop from well-known global digital commerce brands, paying quickly and securely for leisure shopping, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services, and more, while in their home countries or traveling abroad.
The announcement of this partnership comes as digital commerce and online shopping continue to thrive across Africa and the need for safer means of shopping online increases.
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.
The majority of these consumers obtain goods and services from micro, small and medium-sized businesses. Africa today has about 100 million MSMEs but less than 5% of their transactions are digitized.
For these businesses, virtual cards offer a compelling path to digitization with added benefits such as tracking, reconciliation, and quick settlement of day-to-day payments, better management of customer and supplier relationships, and minimized fraud risk all without sacrificing operational speed.
Taking advantage of these opens up paths for growth through value chain financing and ease in raising working capital.
A statement by the two corporations indicates that Mastercard collaborates with partners to build a strong digital economy that can unlock a world beyond cash where everyone thrives and that 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.
“Mastercard’s technology enables our digital partners to redefine their consumer’s digital commerce interactions and experiences. 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,” says Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Mastercard.
He adds, “We see the increasing proliferation of fintechs as a strategic opportunity to add value by creating more connections, better user experiences and greater choice for consumers.”
His sentiments are echoed by David Waithaka, Chief Revenue Officer, Cellulant Group, who holds that seamless payment experiences are the backbone for accelerating economic growth across Africa.
“We MSMEs are the driving force for Africa’s economy and our work in digitizing payments for businesses and their consumers enables the requisite foundation for innovation, economic development, and financial inclusion. By partnering with Mastercard, we are looking to further open up pathways that effectively position our customers for the growth they need,” Mr Waithaka says.
In the past 18 years, Cellulant has continued to build an extensive payments platform that provides local, regional, and global businesses with a one-stop-shop payment solution offering a frictionless payment experience for their needs across the continent.
Covering 35 countries across Africa with about 300 payment integrations, the company helps stitch together the fabric of Africa’s commercial landscape making interoperability possible.