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OPay and Mastercard have entered a strategic partnership that enables OPay customers in the Middle East and Africa region to pay on global online platforms supported by Mastercard’s virtual payment solution linked to the OPay wallet.

The collaboration benefits OPay consumers and merchants in the region including Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa and the UAE.

This partnership is part of Mastercard’s emerging market strategy under which it collaborates with fintechs such as OPay to expand access to digital payments, allow several lifestyle services, and ‘create new pathways to financial inclusion and support the next generation of super-apps’.

The initial phase of this partnership will see OPay customers stand to benefit from the Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to their OPay wallets, to shop at global brands for leisure, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services and more.

This service is available irrespective of whether or not the customer has a bank account.

Furthermore, it enables small business owners to buy from suppliers overseas and pay with the secure virtual payment solution.

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Mastercard EEMEA executive vice president for market development Amnah Ajmal said: “At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is rooted in partnerships to support inclusion at scale. Our partnership with OPay demonstrates our commitment to supporting payments providers across the world to create an interconnected global payments ecosystem that benefits an array of consumers with unique needs.”

OPay CEO Yahui Zhou said: “As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across Middle East and Africa.”

OPay began its operations in 2018. Its active users have grown to 15 million in dozens of markets in which it operates.

On average, the company processes millions of transactions per day on average.

It has plans to launch OPay services in other markets in the next three to five years.

Mastercard has pledged to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.