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Digitalization in Uganda : Economic agreement with Mastercard

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Digitalization in Uganda : Economic agreement with Mastercard

Uganda is actively engaged in accelerating its digital transition and has established various partnerships to achieve this goal. In this regard, the economic agreement signed with Mastercard is evidence of this momentum.

Uganda’s financial and digital inclusion landscape

In 2022, the Ugandan government undertook a survey focusing on public attitudes toward banking, fintech, and the digitalization of the economy. According to the report findings, information and communication technology (ICT) plays a crucial role, contributing 9% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Despite this, only a small fraction of the adult population, merely 10%, possesses a personal bank account, while a larger portion, 49%, utilizes mobile money accounts.

New digital transformation plan

To expedite Uganda’s digital transformation, the Ministry of ICT and National Orientation, with backing from UNDP, is unveiling a preliminary roadmap. This framework document sets out to achieve the goals outlined in the country’s Digital Vision within a five-year span (2023-2027), fostering a conducive administrative, economic, and social landscape for both Ugandan citizens and foreign investors. Aligned with the overarching Digital Vision 2040, this initiative endeavors to harness technology as a catalyst for sustainable economic expansion and enhanced livelihoods.

Digital Vision 2040

Uganda’s goal for 2040 is to successfully transition into the digital age. This Digital Vision 2040 is based on a precise roadmap that aims to connect 90% of Ugandan households to the Internet. Uganda’s digital transformation is a far-reaching project with several axes.

  • Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity : Ensuring quality connectivity for the entire population is a priority. The goal is to make Internet access available to all, in both urban and rural areas.
  • Digital services: The development of innovative digital services is also a major challenge. This includes the implementation of efficient digital public services, digital inclusion and the digitization of financial services.
  • Cybersecurity and privacy: With the expansion of digital technology, the issue of IT security and personal data protection is of paramount importance.

The realization of this digital vision is supported by international partners such as the World Bank. In addition, private companies such as Mastercard are lending their expertise and financial support to this digital transformation project.

I&M Bank Uganda and Mastercard partnership

On December 13, 2023, I&M Bank Uganda joined forces with Mastercard in a strategic partnership aimed at revolutionizing and securing the banking landscape while propelling digital transformation forward. This collaboration introduces three new debit card options to the Ugandan market: I&M Standard, I&M World, and I&M World Elite. These innovative cards come equipped with advanced features designed to streamline financial management and enhance digital transactions for customers.

In addition to offering enhanced functionalities, I&M Bank and Mastercard are prioritizing robust security measures to safeguard users’ online transactions. Furthermore, to elevate the banking experience, holders of the I&M World Elite debit card will benefit from exclusive travel perks. These privileges include complimentary travel insurance with the purchase of airline tickets, access to designated airport lounges, and discounts at partner hotels, aiming to enrich their banking relationship while ensuring convenience and peace of mind for customers.

Collaboration between the State and Mastercard

On February 27, a significant milestone was marked as Mastercard and the Ugandan Ministry of ICT and National Directions inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This collaborative effort is poised to ignite growth, enhance services, and bolster financial inclusion within Uganda. Aligned with Uganda’s digital transformation aspirations and embedded within the « Vision 2040 » digital strategy, this agreement is aimed at empowering individuals and fostering universal access, sustainable development, economic growth, and poverty alleviation.

For Mastercard, this partnership aligns with its overarching objective of amplifying customer engagement in online banking. Notably, the company has set a target to onboard 1 billion unbanked and underserved individuals into the digital economy by 2025. This initiative also includes empowering 50 million micro and small merchants and extending support to 25 million women-owned businesses, further solidifying its commitment to inclusive economic advancement.

Promoting digitalization and financial inclusion

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) encompasses Mastercard’s commitment to providing technical assistance for the government’s digitalization and financial inclusion endeavors. Of notable focus is the modernization of traditional services, such as Posta Uganda, the nation’s postal service, through digitization. Anticipated outcomes of this initiative include the generation of fresh revenue streams and the delivery of seamless, integrated user experiences to the populace.

Furthermore, the collaboration seeks to bolster the capabilities of Ugandan startups, nurturing their growth and positioning them for success in the digital era. Concurrently, support will be extended to micro and small businesses, equipping them with the tools necessary to expand their market reach. This concerted effort not only amplifies their role in driving Uganda’s economic advancement but also facilitates their integration into the global digital economy, fostering sustainable growth and prosperity.

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