Mastercard bites a bigger chunk of Africa’s fintech with OPay partnership

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  • The Mastercard, OPay partnership will make it possible for OPay customers and merchants in the region to interact with brands and businesses worldwide
  • The partnership will benefit users in Kenya, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, Pakistan, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates
  • Opay customers will be able to make use of the Mastercard virtual payment solution that is linked to their OPay wallets

The announcement of a strategic partnership between Mastercard and the African fintech giant OPay, which took place on May 19 of this year, represents a significant boost for broader financial inclusion.

This partnership makes digital commerce accessible to millions of people across the Middle East and Africa.

The collaboration will make it possible for OPay customers and merchants in the region, which includes Kenya, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, Pakistan, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates, to interact with brands and businesses located anywhere in the world by utilising a Mastercard virtual payment solution that is linked to the OPay eWallet.

This is made possible by the fact that OPay is accepting Mastercard payments.

This partnership is the latest milestone in Mastercard’s emerging market strategy, in which the technology company is collaborating with expanding fintech, such as OPay, to enable different lifestyle services, increase access to digital payment methods, establish new avenues leading to financial inclusion, and offer assistance to developers working on the next generation of super apps.

Consumers are looking for increasingly streamlined user experiences that can be found on a single platform that offers more straightforward interactions to fulfil various day-to-day needs. These needs include sending and receiving money, ordering groceries and food, organising transportation, investing, lending, and listing products they want to sell.

During the first phase of the Mastercard OPay partnership, Opay customers will be able to make use of the Mastercard virtual payment solution that is linked to their OPay wallets, and this will allow OPay customers to shop at well-known global brands for services, such as travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services, and more.

“Our innovative approach is entrenched in partnerships at Mastercard to drive inclusion at scale,” said Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President for Market Development for Mastercard EEMEA. Our collaboration with OPay is evidence of our dedication to helping payment service providers located all over the world in order to establish an integrated worldwide payments environment that serves the interests of a diverse range of customers with individualised requirements.
“We are thrilled to be teaming up with Mastercard as the largest fintech in the Middle East and Africa as we continue our mission to promote financial inclusion,” said Yahui Zhou, CEO of OPay.

“This Mastercard OPay partnership will help to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across the Middle East and Africa.”

Mastercard has made a worldwide commitment to expanding access to financial services and has pledged to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small companies into the digital economy by the year 2025, with a particular emphasis on 25 million female entrepreneurs.

Opay Africa’s Fintech Giant

Mastercard, OPay partner to grow cashless ecosystem. [Photo/techcrunch.com]
Since OPay began its operations in 2018, the number of its active users has increased to 15 million throughout the numerous markets in which it is present. According to the company, it completes transactions of US$3 billion every single month, and as of May 2020, it stated it had over 300,000 agents all around Nigeria.

In Nigeria, where OPay has a considerable market share, consumers over the past four years amassed assets worth billions of dollars by means of credit-linked savings accounts accessed from their mobile wallets as well as small loans obtained from lenders that utilise its platform.

There are plans in place to offer OPay services in other markets within the next three to five years. This will greatly drive the growth of digital inclusion as well as digital commerce while at the same time expanding OPay client participation in the global economy.

In fewer than three years, OPay has transformed from an intriguing startup in Lagos, Nigeria, known for its motorcycles, into a financial services company with a market value of US$2 billion. The most recent valuation comes as a result of the company’s recent success in raising capital. SoftBank, a Japanese investment firm, spearheaded the capital round worth US$400 million, with participation from Sequoia Capital China and five other major corporations. The company was able to set new benchmarks in terms of both investment and valuation for startup companies operating in Africa.

There is not another startup that does its business in Africa that has raised as much capital in a single round. Following the completion of a US$170 million funding round in March of this year, Flutterwave reached a valuation of US$1 billion. However, OPay’s new valuation makes it the fastest African startup to cross US$1 billion in value, despite the fact that there is much controversy about whether it is even acceptable to classify it as an African startup, given it is owned by a Chinese billionaire Yahui Zhou through Opera, a Norwegian software business.

Read: Mastercard partners with Meta to support digitization and growth of SMEs

Maingi Gichuku is passionate about helping African businesses grow by offering technology solutions. With a BSC in Zoology and biochemistry, Gichuku yearns for an Africa that can find solutions to its challenges. My drive is to see an economically dynamic Africa and embrace its populations by creating opportunities cutting across the social and economic strata.

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