Mar 28, 2017 Last Updated 9:05 AM, Mar 28, 2017

MasterCard partners with Ecobank to expand African reach

ABN – MasterCard (NYSE: MA) has partnered with Ecobank (GSE: ETI; NSE: ETIT) to introduce its payment solutions into more than 32 sub-Saharan African markets.

It is hoped that the landmark multi-country agreement will increase acceptance and use of electronic payments on the continent.

Under the agreement Ecobank will issue MasterCard’s debit, prepaid and credit cards to its customers over the next 10 years.

Ecobank CEO Albert Essien said: “This collaboration with MasterCard will enable us to achieve our vision of contributing to the economic and financial integration and development of the African continent by rolling out convenient, accessible and reliable financial products and services to our customers.

“Specifically, the initiative enables us to extend our MasterCard acquiring capabilities at thousands of merchants across Africa, grow our ecommerce acquiring business and expand our service offerings to retail and commercial customers in Africa.”

MasterCard president for the Middle East and Africa Michael Miebach added: “Bringing the benefits of electronic payments to markets across Africa and creating a world beyond cash is a primary focus for MasterCard.

“By collaborating with a leading pan-Africa financial institution such as the Ecobank Group with its extensive regional reach and established infrastructure, another successful step has been taken in ensuring access to safe, secure and convenient payments via MasterCard payment solutions.”


General Electric boosts African capital outlay

ABN – General Electric has announced plans to increase its capital outlay in Africa to US$10 billion over the next five years.

The conglomerate will target opportunities in African countries in the power, health and locomotive industries.

Countries such as Nigeria, which has numerous gaps in infrastructure, will be the main focus of General Electric’s work.

General Electric’s Transportation Lead for Africa Thomas Konditi said: “We’re bullish on Nigeria. We met with a couple of the incoming leadership and they’ve put rail right behind power.

“They don’t have mines as much, so you’re going to look for more general freight.” 


Malawi signs Tripartite Free Trade Area pact

ABN – Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika has joined fellow African leaders in the signing of the 26-nation free trade pact.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) will set up a framework for preferential tariffs that will span half the continent and ease the movement of goods in the area.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan are among those to have already signed the agreement.

The East African Community, the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa will be integrated into the new trade pact.

COMESA-SADC-EAC Chairperson of the TFTA Task force Sindiso Ngwenya said: "Some member states have not completely liberalised free movement of business persons, this would require governments’ commitment otherwise this would make the tripartite region, a region with thick borders.”


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