Africa faces unique challenges when it comes to digital transactions, this also includes the agricultural sector which is one of the continent’s biggest yielders.With six out of ten people transacting offline, there is a significant reliance on traditional methods.
Additionally, the lack of reliable connectivity and data access further hampers digital transactions. It is with this regard that Mastercard developed the Community Pass Initiative as a shared interoperable digital platform that connects individuals and business to essential services, going beyond payments.
Speaking to CIO Africa, Mastercard’s Vice President for Marketing Development, Daniel Huba, said that the Community Pass tool is a digital solution that aims to help farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to digitize their transactions, providing them with numerous benefits and opportunities for growth.
“Transactions are not just about payments; they encompass a broader spectrum of events,” Huba explained. “From barter trade days to commerce days and now e-commerce days, various elements define a transaction. It is for this reason that we established Community Pass, a platform of trust that allows individuals and businesses to connect and leverage Mastercard technology beyond payments.”
Mastercard has already made significant strides in implementing Community Pass in several African countries. In Kenya, the initiative has partnered with Cooperative Bank to launch an agriculture proposition that supports farmers in connecting to markets, input providers, and financial services providers. Over 750,000 farmers are benefiting from this collaboration.
A similar initiative has been launched in Uganda through a partnership with Yo Uganda, benefiting approximately a million farmers. In Tanzania, it has benefitted around 350,000 farmers.
Expansion plans for Community Pass are well underway, with Ethiopia and Ghana set to be the next countries to benefit from this digital solution.
“We’re almost going live in Ethiopia and Ghana with the same service. In Ethiopia, however, we will also look at the digitization of healthcare records. Giving individuals the power to carry their records of health in a card,” Huba noted.
He further talked about the numerous challenges that small-scale farmers in Sub-Sharan Africa.
“These farmers often find themselves financially excluded due to the lack of digital records of their transactions. This exclusion results in difficulties in accessing credit and obtaining quality inputs, which subsequently affects the quality of their produce and their access to markets,” he said.
To address these challenges, Community Pass provides digital tools to identify and profile farmers, giving them a digital footprint. It also facilitates the digitization of input requests, allowing financial institutions to capture and aggregate the demand from farmers. Farmers can capture their expected yield, enabling better planning and projection. The initiative also digitizes the aggregation of produce when it is brought to collection centers, providing visibility to potential buyers.
In addition, Community Pass enables both online and offline payments, ensuring that farmers have flexible payment options. It also empowers financial institutions to capture credit requests from farmers, opening up avenues for access to credit and financial support.
The Community Pass initiative by Mastercard is revolutionizing the way small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa engage in transactions. By providing a secure and efficient digital platform, farmers can overcome challenges related to financial inclusion, lack of credit access, and limited visibility in the market. This transformative initiative not only empowers farmers but also contributes to the overall economic growth and development of the region. With continued efforts and partnerships, Mastercard is set to make a lasting impact on the lives of small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa through Community Pass.