Business News of 2014-06-17

MasterCard to work in electronic payment systems

MasterCard has announced its intention to work together with stakeholders involved in electronic payment systems in the country to set up a common market infrastructure to facilitate electronic payments in the country.

It said, for instance, the company was currently engaging the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (Ghipps) to work on its local switching environment in order to come out with the right kind of technology to be applied.

The President in charge of Middle East and Africa at MasterCard, Mr Michael Miebach, disclosed this in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS after MasterCard’s Knowledge Leadership Forum, held on June 10, 2014 in Accra.

He said that was part of MasterCard’s commitment to improving electronic payments in Ghana, as it envisioned to promote a cashless society.

Mr Miebach also said MasterCard would want to bring on board key banks in order to drive forward a set of objectives that would de-incentivise cash and incentivise electronic payments.

“In the end, we want to ensure that we work with the banks to go beyond the traditional banking to drive electronic payments within a much-accelerated pace,” he said.

He said driving the acceptance and pulling the merchants and the retailer communities into the discussion was the next step that was very much needed.

Strategy for Africa

Mr Miebach also noted that MasterCard would not apply the same business modules it had been employing for the last seven years.

He said Africa was facing some obvious challenges in key areas such as infrastructure deployment, bandwidth and technology, as well as the lack of adequate players in the financial services sector.

Mr Miebach said all these needed to be brought up, and MasterCard, over the last four years, had made some basic investments that were aimed at improving some of those challenges.

“We have been able to come out with a business module that focuses on low value payment to people that are not traditionally banked,” he said.

Accra tops in Africa

Meanwhile, Accra has for the second consecutive year emerged as the top ranked city in Africa, according to findings from the MasterCard African Cities Growth Index (ACGI) 2014.

Accra had an overall index score of 50.9 per cent to emerge as the African city with the highest potential for inclusive growth.

Mr Miebach said this indicator had a lot of forward-looking elements but added that there was still a lot of work to be done to make it a reality.

“What we expect from this research is some more practical work and not just talking,” he said.

The Director, Financial Sector Division of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Joseph Chognuru, also pointed out that this should urge the country to work harder and take very bold policies as it had done before.

“In the 80s and the 90s, we had to come up with very bold policies and reforms, and that is what has brought us here, so we have to continue with that,” he said.