MasterCard maintains Africa is its fastest growing region

VENTURES AFRICA – MasterCard Inc, the world’s second biggest debit and credit card firm, this week said the volume of its transactions in Africa and the Middle East had surged 21 percent against a 15 percent increase internationally in the past three years.

“This is the fastest growing region,” Michael Miebach, President of Mastercard in the Middle East and Africa, told Reuters, adding the firm continues to anticipate growth that is more than the global average in the region.

MasterCard had doubled up the amount of its cards to around 100 million in the Middle East and Africa. In the Middle East and Africa, the company has launched joint ventures with governments with the aim of providing them with entry to its payments system.

In March this year, MasterCard entered into an agreement with the Egyptian government that would see the issue of digital identification cards with built-in payment devices reach 54 million Egyptians.

MasterCard has run a trial of a plan akin to this with the federal government of Nigeria. Africa’s biggest economy also has a low rate of financial inclusion. “We see in the Middle East as well as Africa a fairly high cash dominance. If you go to Nigeria it is about 94 percent cash,” Miebach told Reuters.

Last month, MasterCard signed a deal with Premier Bank of Somalia to issue debit cards and install ATM machines in some parts of the troubled country.