Last week, President Obama acknowledged a newfound partnership between Mastercard and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia which will provide access to remittance services for more than 100 million people in East Africa. Through the expansion of HomeSend, people using the service will be able to safely send money to any mobile phone number in Ethiopia.
This announcement was made at the New York-based U.S.- Africa Business Forum, and is the latest endeavor of Mastercard aiming to bring safe, convenient, financial solutions to the 78% of Ethiopian adults currently lacking a form of traditional banking.
Earlier this year, the President of the African Development Bank placed major emphasis on remittances which have a significant impact on Africa’s economy. Each year 20 to 30 million Africans residing in the U.S. send roughly $40 billion USD back to their home country. Digital payments have become the driving force behind these money transfers, providing a cost-effective method for US-based Africans to send money to their families who truly need it.
Mastercard recognized that becoming “financially included can transform economies and lives”, spurring extended efforts on behalf of Mastercard to focus on innovation in the area of financial inclusion. As a result of these efforts:
- Families in South Africa can now receive government social payments on prepaid cards
- Women in Nigeria can enroll for their first form of government-issued ID which includes a payment service
According to a new report released by McKinsey, “Within the next decade, digital finance could enable 1.6 billion unbanked people to gain access to financial services; of this total, more than half would be women.” The MasterCard partnership in Ethiopia aims to transform the remittance industry and is one of many being developed across the continent including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Ghana, and Zimbabwe.