MasterCard doubles number of cards in Africa and the Middle-East

May 13, 2015

Some 100 million payment cards have been issued.

MasterCard said it has doubled the number of its cards to about 100 million in the Middle East and Africa in the past three years.

In a press release, the American payment systems giant said there is still plenty of room for growth in a region where about 90 per cent of transactions are still done in cash, compared with an average of 85 per cent globally.

"This is the fastest growing region," Michael Miebach, from MasterCard, told Reuters. "We continue to expect growth above the global average."

In March, the company signed an agreement with the Egyptian government to issue digital identification cards with built-in payment devices to 54 million Egyptians, enabling them to pay for mobile phone bills and other purchases for goods and services.

MasterCard has also partnered with the government of Nigeria: "We see in the Middle East as well as Africa a fairly high cash dominance. If you go to Nigeria it is about 94 per cent cash," the director said.

Last month, MasterCard signed a deal with Premier Bank in Somalia to issue debit cards and install ATM machines in the country.

It also unveiled a partnership last week with micro-credit provider Enda inter-arabe to offer payment solutions in Tunisia through the use of prepaid cards.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801787153-ADNFCR