Mastercard has partnered with Billetera – a digital payments technology company headquartered in Kenya – to provide millions of unbanked and financially excluded residents in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), access to formal financial and digital services through a diverse range of digital payment solutions.
The partnership aims to support the vision of the DRC Government, which under the leadership of President Felix Tshisekedi has an ambitious digitization program aligned with the country’s National Digital Plan (NDP).
With only 22.5 million of DRC’s total population of 90 million being financially included within the nation’s financial system, access to banking and mobile money has become an important agenda for the government.
Mastercard’s partnership with Billetera is aimed at creating payments solutions that will drive acceptance of government services such as water and electricity bills, taxes such as wet market permits, housing rents and building permits, e-visas, customs payments in the ports.
The acceptance solutions were designed for delivery through online portals and PostBank channels.
“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,” said Arn Vogels, Area Business Head, Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa at Mastercard.
Billetera has a long history of working with both the public and private sector to offer the latest in digital payments solutions within the East and Central Africa region. A major success story is their partnership with SCPT (Société Congolaises des Postes et Télécommunications).
“Management of citizen relationship in the service value chain remains a critical factor in 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,” said Jevis Omondi Okoth, CEO Billetera RDC.
“I am passionate about the SCPT and its role as a catalyst for change in the socio-economic development program of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With 385 branches across the country, the Postal Bank will play a key role in promoting distributed access to government services through the use of new technologies in the digitization of processes and payments. The change of mentality will be our battle horse for the integral development of our dear and beautiful country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” added Claude Matala Mu-Pashy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SCPT.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the recommendations for social distancing has increased the use of mobile services especially for ease of processing payments.
The partnership will support the development of an e-citizen system through the launch of a digital wallet that will serve as the ID and main payments platform for payments to and from the government. The partnership is also meant to design a digital ecosystem that will provide the framework for digital payments across all government departments.
According to Digital 2020: The Democratic Republic Of The Congo, 40% of the population in DRC had mobile connections by January 2020. This illustrates that mobile use and penetration in the region has great potential to further grow.