Mastercard, Billetera team to provide digital payments in DR Congo

Payments giant Mastercard has collaborated with Billetera to offer digital payments to consumers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Kenya-headquartered firm Billetera is a digital payments technology firm that provides unbanked and financially excluded DRC residents with access to financial and digital services.

According to Mastercard, the partnership aims to support the vision of the DRC government to enact an ambitious digitalisation program in-line with the country’s National Digital Plan. Currently, only 22.5m of DRC’s total population of 90 million is included in its national financial system.

Mastercard also noted its partnership with Billetera is focused on developing payments solutions aimed at driving acceptance of government services such as electricity and water bills, taxes such as building permits, housing rents, customs payments, e-visas and wet market permits.

Further, the collaboration will aid the development of an e-citizen system through the introduction of a digital wallet that will serve as the ID and main payments platform for payments to and from the government. It will also design a digital ecosystem to offer a framework for digital payments across all government departments.

A report by the DRC – Digital 2020 – found 40% of the population had mobile connections by January 2020, a statistic that shows mobile use and penetration in the DRC had much potential to grow exponentially.

Mastercard Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa head Arn Vogels said, “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.”

Billetera RDC CEO Jevis Omondi Okoth added, “Management of citizen relationship in the service value chain remains a critical factor in the 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.”

Mastercard recently collaborated with the digital payments platform Pomelo to build on the support it offers its business customers with an expanded range of products and services.

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