Mastercard looks to innovate Kenyan Micromerchant businesses
If you’ve never heard of micromerchants before, you can be forgiven: in the many parts of the world, we have nothing like them. In Africa, a micromerchant is someone who makes their living selling very small amounts of goods from a premises that is often just a couple of meters in size, and deals only in cash. These smallest of small business are chronically underserved in modern day economies: they can’t get credit to expand their holdings because they only deal in cash. However, taken together, these merchants represent a huge, untapped, economy – and global brand Mastercard is hoping to cash in on that while helping them to evolve.
Mastercard’s share price is up by 50% over 12 months
Source: Yahoo Finance
Mastercard’s new online platform, Kionect (a mash-up between the words “kiosk” and “connect”) enables merchants to place and pay for orders from a wholesale partner, Kaskazi, on demand. This can be done instantly via phone, and Diamond Trust Bank (another partner in the region) will keep an automated track record of all orders and payments made via the system. As a result, this payment history will finally allow micromerchants to apply for credit from Musoni (a Kenyan microfinance provider), letting them evolve their businesses.
Check out Mastercard’s Kionect platform below:
Michael Elliott, vice president of Mastercard Labs for Financial Inclusion, highlights the importance of understanding the day-to-day experience of micromerchants. He said: “These microretailers struggle to buy the supplies for their shops, and they struggle with the logistics of it. The whole point of Kionect is to understand the pain points of the merchants, and make it easier for them to do their jobs.” Ultimately, he says, “We want to see this start to evolve into a relationship between merchants and banks that can grow beyond just the Kionect loan,”
Dominion holds Mastercard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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