‘The Digital Economy Is An Extremely Powerful, Transparent Tool'
Forbes Africa|August - September 2020
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‘The Digital Economy Is An Extremely Powerful, Transparent Tool'
What are the big corporates thinking? Raghu Malhotra, the Dubai-based president of mastercard Middle East & Africa, on developing clear frameworks for the current crisis, and why digital transformation is more important now than ever before.
Renuka Methil
Addressing the challenges of Covid-19

We absolutely find ourselves in a place where we are mandated to think differently about how we interact with the world around us. And it’s not just the challenge, but the scale of it that’s so astounding. Organizations need to play a vital role in enabling commerce critical to sustain people’s health and wellbeing.

Technology has always played an important role in how Mastercard addresses challenges, and that is even more true today. Through technology, we are better able to support all the partners with whom we interact in this ecosystem – governments, public sector, private companies, small businesses, fintechs, mobile network operators, retailers, merchants and consumers.

We developed a clear framework to address the impact of Covid-19 – containment, stabilization, normalization and long-term plans for eventual growth. We have been accelerating and enhancing our innovative services and solutions that can help businesses and governments in the region and around the world to assess, react and plan through the current crisis. We are now seeing signs that global economies are starting gradually to move into the stabilization phase.

Of course, first and foremost among the many challenges has been the cost to human health and wellbeing. We have committed to no job losses as a result of Covid-19. As an inclusive company, we know it’s paramount to consider diverse perspectives. We are encouraging learning, development and volunteering as our people combat challenges, but also discover new strengths.

Contactless payments and changing consumer behavior

Consumer behavior changes as people adapt to new environments. In order to observe social distancing, people are opting for digital and contactless modes of payment that are safe, secure and fast. While countries and sectors worldwide are at different stages of contactless deployment and usage for daily shopping habits, Mastercard saw the number of contactless transactions in South Africa grew 13X in March 2020 compared to March 2019 in grocery and pharmacy categories.

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August - September 2020