Digital payments platform Visa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Côte d’Ivoire’s government to digitize government services to ensure financial services are accessed easily to more Ivorians. The activity was represented by the nation’s Minister of Finance and Economy Mr. Adama Koné and Visa’s Regional Head for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) Mr. Andrew Torre.
The signing was staged in Abidjan in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA).
“This MOU signing represents an important milestone in our ongoing cooperation with the Ivorian government. It is a major step forward in our effort to bring more Ivorians into the formal financial system with all the associated benefits. Our shared vision for enhancing the quality of services and employing the latest payment technologies makes this partnership a great opportunity for Ivorians, the financial services industry, merchants and the government alike. The use of electronic payments will bring greater payment security and convenience to Ivorian families while lowering costs and bringing increased transparency to the financial system,” noted Mr. Torre during the event.
It emerged during the presentation that Visa is the first global payments company to open an office in the region.
Prior to the signing of the MOU, Visa was working closely with local governments, financial institutions and merchants across UEMOA, CEMAC & the entire Western & Central Africa to sell their benefits of its product – electronic payments.
“We consider this MOU a breakthrough in our greater plans for the development of Cote D’Ivoire by 2020. It reflects the government’s resolve to address the challenges and improve the lives of Ivorians by collaborating with companies like Visa. It is a testament that we are seeking international standards when it comes to the services offered to our citizens,” said Mr. Adama Koné.
The company will roll out Visa Mobile to more than 1.1 million farmers in the country. This development will allow farmers to perform digital payment activities on their smart handhelds.
Secondly, about 35,000 transit vehicles will be equipped with solutions to allow mobile payments.
The West Africa’s government will work with Visa to assess and develop government prepaid solutions for student scholarships, government employee salaries and government expenses.
What is more, Visa will check enabling cardholder authentication via mobile app or SMS, using a National ID database with a Unique National Identification number for the 23.7 million Ivorians to give them faster access to services and connect them to the formal financial system.
“These investments are real and meaningful, and they will have a far greater reach and impact than only in Cote D’Ivoire, as they will serve as a model for the rest of the UEMOA region. We believe that access to a world-class, global and secure payments network is essential for sustained economic growth. It supports retail sector growth, encourages travel and tourism, and enables us to invest in new technologies to support consumer inclusion. We are excited about the partnership and eager to get moving,” Torre added.