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Mastercard research finds Pay on Demand solutions are driving a new wave of digital and financial inclusion across Africa through connectivity

· Research shows far-reaching impact of Pay on Demand model, with users and their
families living happier and healthier lives, feeling safer and more secure, and improving self-esteem
· Survey users in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda highlight how Pay on Demand model provides new revenue opportunities for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)
· Ecosystem of key players must come together to scale Pay on Demand solutions to unlock opportunities for millions of people across Africa
3 March 2020, Cairo, Egypt: Mastercard today released a white paper revealing that giving
people the ability to pay only for what they use, as they need it, can lift millions of people across Africa out of poverty and make prosperity possible.
 
The paper, titled Pay on Demand: The Digital Path to Financial Inclusion, explores how
digital inclusion has been proven to provide better access to financial and other services.
This ultimately drives financial inclusion which leads to improved economic possibilities for individuals and businesses.
 
Mastercard’s report, based on research from in-depth face-to-face interviews with
consumers across Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, shows that a focused deployment of
solutions like Pay on Demand is key to increasing connectivity. However, for these
solutions to function effectively, it is critical that all stakeholders – governments, Mobile
Network Operators (MNOs), financial service companies and regulators – come together to
unlock opportunities to enable greater financial inclusion.
 
Technology and connectivity enabled by MNOs initially made digital inclusion possible.
Mobile devices became a viable instrument of digital inclusion when prepaid plans allowed
individuals to recharge for as low as 10¢ at a time. Currently, prepaid connections are at
98.8% in Kenya, 97.5% in Nigeria, and 99.1% in Uganda with smartphone penetration in
Africa projected to reach 66% by 2025, up from 36% in 2018. Pay on Demand applies the
same principle for goods ranging from mobile phones to solar panels, water filters or laundry machines. The model, often underpinned by the Internet of Things (IoT), further
bridges the ownership divide by providing affordable services and assets, driving the next wave of inclusion by keeping people connected.
 
Jorn Lambert, Executive Vice President, Digital Solutions, Mastercard, said: “The growth of
digital technology has presented people in Africa with access to innovative, affordable
solutions that help them meet their basic needs, ultimately leading to greater access to
capital that can scale businesses and increase prosperity. The Pay on Demand model is an
incredible example of this, which has already empowered millions of people by making
solar energy more accessible and affordable. But now, with the expansion of Pay on
Demand to any connected device like smartphones, water filters or white goods, we have a
real opportunity to positively impact the lives of a billion people, in the same way the
telecoms industry did two decades ago. To further scale the model effectively and create a
digital economy that works for everyone, key players in the ecosystem must collaborate to
drive a new wave of inclusion through connectivity and smart devices.”
 
Demonstrated Impact
 
By giving customers the flexibility to pay for services via their mobile phones on terms that
work for them, Mastercard’s research shows that Pay on Demand business models resolve
real pain points. This can be the difference between being able to switch on electric lights
in a home, and an entire family living with paraffin fumes from a single lamp. The need for
off-grid solar lighting products is particularly prominent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sales of off-
grid solar lighting products topped 2.25 million (937,618 through Pay on Demand) across
the region between January and June 2019, higher than any other region in the world.
 
In all three countries where users were surveyed, access to basic necessities was the
number one driver of Pay on Demand use, with electricity top of mind for all users. The
main aspirational products acquired through Pay on Demand were digital TVs, followed by
smartphones. These assets are vital to connecting people to the larger world, whether it’s
by powering electric devices or having internet access so a child can do their homework.
 
Although smartphones are highly coveted through Pay on Demand, the desired price for
them amongst users differs across all three markets. It is $200 – 250 in Uganda; $55 – $110 in Nigeria; and $100 – $250 in Kenya.
 
Mastercard’s research also shows the far-reaching impact of Pay on Demand. “We were
touched by the emotional benefits that switching on a light can bring, or the dignity that
comes from having a phone that is always charged. As the Pay on Demand model scales,
more consumers will gain access to useful products that support happier, healthier lives as
well as financial services to secure their future,” Lambert added.
 
One of the indirect benefits of Pay on Demand is that it helps individuals and micro, small
and medium enterprises (MSMEs) establish a digital transaction history, making other
financing solutions accessible, such as credit, loans and insurance. By having relations with
formal financial institutions, MSMEs can benefit from convenient and secure payment methods, and obtain financing to help them scale.
 
Gaurang Shah, Mastercard, Senior Vice President, Digital Payments & Labs, Middle East and
Africa, said: “There are 44 million MSMEs in sub-Saharan Africa, 97% of which are micro
enterprises. For them, the assets made possible through Pay on Demand create improved
opportunities through increased connectivity, and new revenue opportunities through
being part of a financial system. This initial access to financial services is the first step on
the road to prosperity and can help realize the true potential of inclusive growth across the continent.”
 
A wide range of products and services are available through Pay on Demand models,
including solar lanterns, grid components, smartphones and agricultural equipment.
Leveraging its Quick Response (QR) payment technology, Mastercard works with M-KOPA
to provide a simple and inexpensive way to power the homes and businesses of Ugandans
through a Pay on Demand solar program. The market for Pay on Demand solar home
systems is the most mature of all the industries leveraging Pay on Demand models, and
often acts as a test case for how the model can be applied to other products and services.

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