Tuesday 1, March 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: A greater emphasis on Public-Private Partnership (PPP)-led financial inclusion efforts is needed to drive economic and social development across the Middle East and Africa (MEA), experts concluded at MasterCard’s second Prepaid and Government Conference that took place in Dubai today.

The conference brought together around 150 high-profile delegates and industry leaders from the government and financial sectors who shared key insights to further the cause of financial inclusion in the region. Sessions explored best practices and the innovative payment solutions that can be used to address social issues and drive economies.

Speaking at the conference were a number of senior MasterCard officials, including Michael Fiore, EVP – Global Prepaid Head; Alan King, Managing Director – Prepaid Management Services and Tara Nathan, EVP, Public-Private Partnerships. External speakers Dr. Lance S Mambondiani, CEO, Steward Bank and Anant Patel, EMEA Managing Director, First Performance shared case studies and successes with delegates.

Commenting on the conference, Raghu Malhotra, President, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard, said: “When public-private partnerships are directed and well organized, we can spur positive change that impacts citizens and governments alike. We need the public sector to help with regulations and create a good business climate. On the other hand, we need the private sector to bring distribution, innovation, efficiencies, and the capacity to execute. If private players can join hands with governments and the civil society at large, all of us stand a better chance of being successful together.”

With two billion adults around the world still financially excluded, the conference called for greater financial empowerment through payment innovations to allow individuals to be integrated into the financial ecosystem through technologies like prepaid cards, ID cards, biometric security payment cards and alternative delivery channels like m-commerce and e-commerce.

“Prepaid cards have proven to be an ideal entry point for financial inclusion. With the ability to control spending and all the benefits of cashless payments, it is the building block of many of our Financial Inclusion initiatives,” Malhotra added.