In a press announcement released by leading ride-hailing Startup Uber, techibytes has gathered that the tech company is extending its long-term partnership with global Telcom giant Mastercard to boost payment digitization and advance financial inclusion across the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

It is expected that this partnership with Mastercard will enable Uber to drive digitization across its business operations, leveraging Mastercard’s single infrastructure to meet all types of payments needs across Uber Rides, Uber Eats, Uber Pass, and Uber for Business.

Why the partnership extension?

The Economy 2021 report released by Mastercard notes that the economic impact of COVID-19 has introduced permanent changes in digital consumer spending habits, growth of online banking, fintech disruption and opportunities to boost financial inclusion.

Through the partnership, both companies can bridge the financial inclusion gap through a broad range of efforts.

Just in case you’re just knowing about Uber, let’s quickly explain. Uber started off as a ride-hailing Startup in 2009 to solve a simple problem- getting it’s customers a ride at the push of a button everywhere and for everyone. Since it’s inception, it has completed over 10 billion trips worldwide, it has evolved into offering other services such as logistics and food delivery and it is now shifting it’s focus to solving greater global challenges, reducing traffic congestion and reducing pollution by getting more people into fewer cars. 

Meanwhile MasterCard is a global financial technology company whose mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy for individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. MasterCard currently connects across more than 210 countries worldwide.

Still on this Partnership

This new partnership builds on existing work between the two organizations. In a joint initiative last year, Mastercard committed 120,000 free trips and meals to supporting communities across the Middle East and Africa, which was facilitated through Uber. 

This strategic partnership between Mastercard and Uber spans across the region and through key partnerships, supported cities, hospitals, front-line workers, and marginalized communities with free rides and meals.

The work undertaken with Uber plays a key role in advancing Mastercard’s worldwide commitment to financial inclusion and the company’s pledge to bring a total of 1 billion people, 50 million micro and small businesses, and 25 million women entrepreneurs into the digital economy by 2025.

The partnership is also intended to boost cashless payments. It is expected to drive digital payment acceptance, reward loyalty, while supporting Uber’s continued social impact collaboration.

While vaccines are now becoming a reality, communities are still in need of various support. Mastercard and Uber remain committed to helping people around the world navigate these challenging times and stand ready to support cities whether it be logistics or free rides.

Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President Market Development, Mastercard, MEA explains: “Mastercard continues to partner with digital players across the value chain to build a more connected world. Enabling secure, immediate movement of money for individuals in the gig economy workers and customers is especially vital as we support economic recovery efforts. Through our growing partnership, we are enabling the company’s long-term business growth as a result of improved operational efficiencies, driving greater financial inclusion and innovation across the region, and ultimately boosting the growth of digital economy in MEA.”

Abdellatif Waked, Regional General Manager, Middle East & Africa, said: “This is the largest partnership for us across MEA, and we are proud to be working together to bring key financial solutions to driver-partners across MEA. Driver’s well-being is a top priority and putting opportunities they want within reach is important to us.”

Last year, Uber in South Africa launched a new product called Uber Pass, which will now be available across most cities in MEA, with Mastercard becoming a key distribution partner to help drive adoption.

Why African market?

Africa has the advantage of a large and relatively cheap educated labor force. The continent is undergoing a demographic transformation, with youth at the focal point; there is a very high proportion of Africans in their 20s and 30s with fewer dependents – a number expected to increase over the next decade.

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2030:

● Over 40% of Africans will belong to the middle or upper classes, and there will be a higher demand for goods and services. In 2030, household consumption is expected to reach $2.5 trillion, more than double that of 2015 at $1.1 trillion. 

● Much of that $2.5 trillion will come from these three countries: Nigeria (20%), Egypt (17%) and South Africa (11%)

● The transportation sector is also expected to exponentially develop in the next few years, leaving a gap that’s expected to be filled. 

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