By Juliet Umeh
Startups in the Middle East and Africa, MEA, can now focus on innovation that drives the digital economy as a global payment company, Mastercard launches a programme Fintech Express to facilitate emerging fintechs’ launch and expansion.
According to the company, the programme is designed for all types of fintechs such as established fintechs wanting a direct license from Mastercard as well as fintechs with the ambition to innovate through collaborating with ready-to-go Mastercard Engage partners.
It also explained that the programme is splited into three core modules which include: Access, Build, Connect.
The company’s Senior Vice President, Digital Payments & Labs, Middle East and Africa, Gaurang Shah, said: “Startups are forming diverse collaborations with traditional financial institutions, and in the process manage to enhance competitiveness, while also bringing services and products to market that can have a real impact on consumers.
Mastercard is playing a central role in making fintech partnerships a reality as a single technology provider.
“Technological advancement and innovation are steering the digital financial services industry, where fintech players are becoming globally mainstream and an increasing influx of fintech players are competing with large traditional players.
With today’s announcement we are taking the next step in further empowering them to fulfil their ambitions of scale and speed,” Shah said.
Also speaking, Head of Products & Innovation at Diamond Trust Bank Kenya, Farouk Khimji, said: “We are excited to partner with Mastercard under the Fintech Express programme.
The world has changed dramatically over the last few months and we are fast embracing a fully digital economy. As a bank driven by innovation, DTB is looking forward to collaborating with emerging fintechs in the region and providing them with the necessary support on their payment solutions.”
On his own, CEO and co-founder of a payment service provider, DPO Group Eran Feinstein, said: “We are delighted to be Mastercard’s preferred payments partner of choice on this exciting new initiative.
“Fintech Express will accelerate the ability of fintech firms to commercialize their operations and payments processes, driving financial inclusion and boosting business growth in Africa.”
Also, Executive Director of another payment service provider, Selcom, Sameer Hirji, said: “Our seven-year partnership with Mastercard has enabled us to go the extra mile and achieve unmatched scale in key African markets, while focusing on product-market fit for our innovative payment offerings.
“The strategic partnership has helped us to not only share our learnings with other Mastercard partners, but also to enable Mastercard to attain local expectations and needs with our brand association and presence. During our three-year run in this programme, we’ve discovered that such partnerships are critical in order to deliver products that enhance customers’ lives,” Hirji said.
Another global payment enabler CEO, Tutuka, Mr. Rowan Brewer, said: “Tutuka and Mastercard share a common goal – to allow fintechs to easily issue Mastercard payment tools whether virtual, physical or mobile.
“Through those fintechs, customers across Africa and the Middle East will have a simple route to use Mastercard, often for the very first time. This is true financial inclusion,” he added.