In a move that underlines its commitment to supporting Iraq’s emerging digital landscape, Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), aimed at accelerating the development of a strong payments ecosystem in the country.
As part of the MoU, Mastercard and CBI will explore areas of potential collaboration across a broad spectrum of initiatives, including electronic payment strategy and policies, fraud management, financial inclusion, advisory services, and acceptance solutions. A joint working group will be created featuring representatives from both organizations, which will be tasked with assessing each aspect of the partnership and developing an actionable business plan.
According to The Little Data Book on Financial Inclusion 2018 by World Bank Group, only 20.3% of adults in Iraq own a financial institution account, 4.2% have a mobile money account and 19.1% made or received digital payments in the past year, indicating a significant opportunity to drive the development of an inclusive financial sector in the market, which can be accelerated through a wider adoption of electronic payments.
The collaboration between Mastercard and CBI is set to provide greater access to convenient and secure electronic payments solutions in Iraq, increasing the rate of economic development and assisting the government’s efforts to implement an inclusive growth strategy. In addition, Mastercard will commit to dedicating a senior resource to steer the company’s expansion plans in the country. The appointment will deliver greater value for its growing customer base by ensuring that key stakeholders have access to all necessary support.
H.E. Dr. Ali Mohsen Al-Alaq, Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, said: “The signing of this MoU represents an important step on the road to developing and enhancing Iraq’s digital payments ecosystem. Mastercard’s global industry standing and reputation for innovation make this collaboration the logical choice for CBI as we look towards strengthening the nation’s economy and improving access to secure and reliable banking services for its citizens.”
Khalid Elgibali, Division President, MENA, Mastercard, said: “Today’s agreement reflects the trust governments around the world place in Mastercard’s innovative technologies and payments solutions, which we will leverage to boost financial inclusion and provide increased convenience and security for consumers in this rapidly evolving market. We look forward to deepening our connections in Iraq through close collaboration with the CBI and our commitment to dedicate a senior resource to oversee operations in the country.”
The signing of the MoU was announced on the sidelines of the International Arab Banking Summit 2018, which took place from 28 to 29 June at the Peninsula Hotel in Paris, France. Mastercard was the official technology partner for the summit and also sponsored the event’s awards ceremony, during which H.E. Dr. Ali Mohsen Al-Alaq was honored as “Governor of the Year 2018”.