Mastercard, Billetera partner for digital payment solutions in the DRC

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Mastercard has partnered with Billetera – a digital payments technology company headquartered in Kenya – to provide millions of unbanked and financially excluded residents in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), access to formal financial and digital services through a diverse range of digital payment solutions.

The deal will see the digitization of the DRC Government aligned with the country’s National Digital Plan (NDP). With only 22.5 million of DRC’s total population of 90 million being financially included within the nation’s financial system, access to banking and mobile money has become an important agenda for the government.

According to Arn Vogels, Area Business Head, Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa at Mastercard, “As we continue to invest in innovative technologies & platforms, infrastructure and the right fintech partnerships that enable us to provide a single platform capability across multiple-use cases to our partners, we are confident this will boost our efforts in achieving our global commitment to bring 1 billion people into the digital economy by 2025.  A partnership like this one will further the Democratic Republic of Congo’s prospects of growing financial inclusion in the country,”

The partnership will create payment solutions that will drive acceptance of government services such as water and electricity bills, taxes such as wet market permits, housing rents and building permits, e-visas, customs payments in the ports.  The acceptance solutions were designed for delivery through online portals and PostBank channels.

Billetera has a long history of working with both the public and private sector to offer the latest in digital payments solutions within the East and Central Africa region. A major success story is their partnership with SCPT (Société Congolaises des Postes et Télécommunications).

“Management of citizen relationship in the service value chain remains a critical factor in enhancement of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s ease of doing business index. The launch of our partnership is in spirit with the current government’s political goodwill, keen on increasing financial inclusion to a double-digit by 2023. As a FinTech, we shall synergize our software development capabilities with Mastercard’s latest technologies towards the digitization of the DRC government payments; a major case for the cash economy disruption,” said Jevis Omondi Okoth, CEO Billetera RDC.

 The COVID-19 pandemic, and the recommendations for social distancing has increased the use of mobile services especially for ease of processing payments.

The partnership will support the development of an e-citizen system through the launch of a digital wallet that will serve as the ID and main payments platform for payments to and from the government. The partnership is also meant to design a digital ecosystem that will provide the framework for digital payments across all government departments.

According to the Digital 2020: The Democratic Republic Of The Congo, 40% of the population in DRC had mobile connections by January 2020. This illustrates that mobile use and penetration in the region has great potential to further grow.

Mastercard has also appointed Victor Ndlovu as Director, Country Business Development Lead, East Africa.

Victor is a seasoned business leader with close to three decades of solid experience in the fintech, banking and payments industry. He joins Mastercard from Ukheshe, based in South Africa, where he spearheaded the Fintech’s presence in Africa with deals at KCB Bank and Ecobank Pan Africa.

In his new role, Victor is responsible for growing the Mastercard’s regional footprint in the East Africa region through increasing market share, driving market acceptance, and increasing the number of customer touch points.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Victor Ndlovu as Mastercard’s “Country Business Development Lead – East Africa.” With his responsibility to drive business growth across our footprint in this geography, I’m sure Victor will bring to bear his vast experience and deep payments expertise to successfully take the Mastercard franchise across East Africa to new heights,” said Raghav Prasad, Division President, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard.

Prior to Ukheshe, Victor held various roles in the financial industry in East Africa, working across multiple markets including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia and the Comoros.  Victor also spent time at the Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe’s Card & Retail segments and the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe’s Electronic Payments & Card Services departments.

Between 2007 and 2008 Victor was elected Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Plastic Card Industry.