MTN Group struck a strategic partnership with Mastercard to advance its e-commerce strategy across Africa, with the move designed to allow millions of the operator’s customers access to more international brands and merchants.

In a statement, MTN said consumers across 16 countries would now be able to make global e-commerce payments safely and securely, with Mastercard’s virtual payment solution being linked to the operator’s MoMo wallets.

As a result, consumers and merchants will be able to make purchases from international brands, “extending their reach to an international marketplace”.

MTN cited figures from GSMA estimating there will be 300 million more people using their devices to access internet services by 2025, meaning mobile financial services are becoming the dominant form of digital payments in the region.

The operator added there were twice as many mobile bank accounts as traditional in Africa, meaning consumers were beginning to expect a broader range of financial services options.

Through the partnership, consumers will be able to link their MoMo wallets to the Mastercard platform, gaining access to online merchant website and mobile applications.

It is also available regardless if the consumer has a bank account or not.

Serigne Dioum, MTN’s chief digital and fintech officer, said the tie-up was “another step to realising our ambition to build Africa’s largest fintech platform, accelerating economic and social development through digital innovation”.

MTN and Mastercard first teamed in 2018 to launch a digital payment solution for MoMo customers, and it will now be extended throughout the operator’s fintech footprint.