Fintech giants, Mastercard and Opay have announced a partnership deal to foster a global payment ecosystem to boost digital commerce in Middle East Africa and Africa at large.
This comes on the heels of the partnership deal Mastercard signed with Coinbase a couple of months ago to enable payments in the NFT marketplace.
Investors King gathered that the partnership with Mastercard is to simplify users’ experience in the NFT marketplace by allowing millions of people access the Coinbase to mint, purchase, showcase, and discover NFTs. Mastercard has said all the NFT-related transactions would be classified as ‘digital goods’.
This collaboration is the latest step in Mastercard’s emerging market strategy, which involves the technology company collaborating with fast-growing Fintechs like OPay to broaden access to digital transactions, encourage a variety of leisure amenities, develop new financial inclusion trajectories, and endorse the next formation of apps.
Customers are actively asking for a single platform that allows them to do numerous daily tasks more easily, such as sending and receiving money, ordering meals and groceries, scheduling transportation, lending, investing, and putting products for sale.
Customers of OPay will be able to pay on worldwide web platforms using Mastercard’s secure virtual payment system, which is linked to the OPay wallet.
With or without a bank account, OPay customers will benefit from a superior digital experience for a variety of lifestyle services and new digital commerce options.
In addition to enabling digital commerce, the two companies will collaborate to develop solutions that will position OPay at the forefront of financial services in the areas they serve.
Executive Vice President for Market Development, Mastercard EEMEA, Amnah Ajmal, said: “At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is rooted in partnerships to support inclusion at scale. Our partnership with OPay demonstrates our commitment to supporting payments providers across the world to create an interconnected global payments ecosystem that benefits an array of consumers with unique needs.”
CEO of OPay, Yahui Zhou, said: “As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across Middle East and Africa.”
GTCO’s HabariPay Limited Receives Final Approval from CBN
The management of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO Plc) announced the bank’s payment subsidiary, HabariPay Limited has received final approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The lender announced in its latest statement signed by Erhi Obebeduo, Group Company Secretary and General Counsel, and obtained by Investors King.
According to the bank, HabariPay will be used to expand GTCO Plc’s services to underserved markets and deepen CBN efforts at expanding the number of people in the financial system. This, GTCO said would contribute to the resilience of the global payment ecosystem.
Commenting on the new payment subsidiary, Segun Agbaje, Group Chief Executive Officer, GTCO, said payments are central to the development of financial services globally and represent a key growth area for the group.
“GTCO Plc has been at the forefront of delivering cutting-edge innovative solutions with its banking franchise and would leverage this capacity to transform the evolving payment space,” he said.
“With HabariPay, we have successfully created another pathway towards enhancing the service experience for our customers and creating more value for our stakeholders.”
“Our vision is an Africa where every payment is digital, and we hope to achieve this by increasingly leveraging technology to improve access to financial services for individuals and empower businesses across Africa with the right digital tools to thrive.”
PayPal Ventures’ First Layer 1 Investment has Been Revealed as Aptos.
In March, Aptos Labs announced a $200 million investment round, and now the company has confirmed that PayPal was one of the investors.
PayPal Ventures was one of the investors in Aptos Labs’ $200 million funding round confirmed in March, according to Coin Desk. Aptos Labs is bringing Facebook’s star-crossed Diem blockchain to life. PayPal Ventures’ first investment in a base layer product was made with this investment.
In a statement, PayPal Ventures investment partner Amman Bhasin stated, “We trust in the work that the Aptos Labs team is undertaking to establish a safe and scalable layer 1 blockchain.”
“The Aptos blockchain is constructed in such a way that it is both conducive to creating new rails and enticing to corporate clients and crypto-native developers, with the promise of greater dependability and security, faster transactions, and cheaper costs.”
PayPal (PYPL) was an early supporter of Libra, pledging at least $10 million to join the Libra Consortium. Following outrage on Capitol Hill, the corporation swiftly withdrew. Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led the Aptos funding round, which included Multi coin Capital, a16z alum Katie Haun, Three Arrows Capital, Para Fi Capital, and Coinbase Ventures, among others. The involvement of PayPal Ventures was not disclosed in the initial statement.
Aptos is composed of the Diem (previously Libra) blockchain’s original creators, researchers, designers, and constructors. The blockchain was announced as the backbone of a stablecoin project by Meta Platforms (previously Facebook) in 2019, but the project never got off the ground due to legal difficulties.
Meta announced the shutdown of Diem earlier this year, and Silver gate Bank purchased the technology and other assets. Much of the work done by Diem-affiliated teams, on the other hand, was done under open-source licenses, which means that the intellectual property is free to use.
Two months ago, Aptos’ developer test net became live. The main net is expected to be released in the third quarter.
Mobile Network Providers Set to Drive Financial Inclusion in Nigeria
The global development of Financial Technology (FinTech) has necessitated mobile network providers to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.
The incursion of telecommunication companies into the financial services space has been a laudable development for stakeholders in the technology sector. A large number of them believe that these telecommunication companies have what it takes to bank the unbanked across the country.
Investors King gathered that two of the largest mobile networks in Nigeria, during the past week, commenced the operation of their Payment Services.
MTN, in its official statement, revealed that Nigerians will enjoy easy to use, accessible, and affordable financial services through its MoMo wallet.
On the same day, Airtel Africa also announced that it will roll out the full operation of its PSB SmartCash.
Airtel Group Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya assured that SmartCash will help further digitise the economy and most importantly, help bank the unbanked by reaching the millions of Nigerians who do not currently have access to financial services by delivering current and savings accounts, payment and remittance services, debit and prepayment cards and more sophisticated services.
“SmartCash Payment Service Bank Limited (‘SmartCash PSB’) Services will initially be available at selected retail touchpoints, and operations will be expanded gradually across the country over the next few months,” Ogunsanya said.
What the CBN wants
The Central Bank of Nigeria has since, within the past years, intensified its commitment to ensuring a satisfactory financial inclusion rate in Nigeria. The apex bank released a supervisory framework for the operation of these payment service banks.
In 2018, CBN introduced a new type of banking license,the Payment Service Banks (PSBs), with the aim of leveraging the strengths of businesses such as mobile network operators while maintaining a bank-led rather than a telecoms-led banking model.
“The Payment Service Banks are expected to leverage on technology to provide services that would be easily accessed by the unbanked population and those who are in hard-to-reach areas of the country,” CBN said.
It is expected that through this development, Nigeria should attain the desirable height in terms of financial inclusion.
Currently, according to the data obtained by Investors King from Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), over four million (4,682,492) Nigerians have been financially included through its funded grant projects, including 2 million women.
Recall that the overall financial inclusion target was 80 percent by 2020, while adult Nigerians with access to payment services was to increase from 21.6 percent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2020.
However, by the end of 2020, EFInA data shows that only 64 per cent of Nigerian adults were financially included, a report said.
This means that 36 per cent of Nigerian adults, or 38 million adults, remained completely financially excluded as at 2020.
According to the Apex Bank, the key objective of issuing PSB licenses is to boost financial inclusion especially in rural areas and facilitate transactions.
What Financial Inclusion means to Nigerians
Financial inclusion means that people have access to basic financial services like a savings account, credit and insurance. A higher exclusion rate in Nigeria could lead to a poorer population as lack of access to credit and insurance puts them at an economic disadvantage.
Financial inclusion is a strong lever for bridging income inequality, combating poverty and preserving social harmony. The CBN has accordingly been at the forefront of the efforts to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria by championing the development & implementation of Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy led by the CBN Governor.
The Deputy Governor and Chair of the Financial Inclusion Technical Committee, had once said that the next phase of financial inclusion in Nigeria is to bank the unbanked women, bridging the inequalities in the sector.
Despite progress achieved to date, critical groups remained excluded, including women, rural dwellers and citizens in the northern area. To address the issue with women, CBN launched a Framework for Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria in 2020.
The CBN is also leading the industry to implement the framework, which is expected to lead to significant increase in women financial inclusion in Nigeria.
By all indications, there is no certainty of meeting the 2020 financial inclusion targets until around 2030.
However, Nigeria can build on this initial progress and drive faster financial inclusion growth through digital financial services like mobile money, by creating an open and level playing field for a wide range of providers, creating the right environment for fintech to thrive, and encouraging partnerships between different providers.
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