Johannesburg, South Africa, 28 June 2018 – Mastercard is celebrating small and medium-sized businesses on United Nations World SME Day, a day that aims to raise awareness of the significant contributions these businesses around the world make to economic growth and sustainable development.

Formal and informal small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) that employ fewer than 250 people are the backbone of the world economy and play an especially important role in developing countries. In most countries, small businesses make up over 90 percent of all firms, and account for between 60 and 70 percent of total employment and 50 percent of GDP, according to the International Council for Small Business.

Mastercard recognises the invaluable role these businesses play in creating jobs, building communities and closing the poverty gap. From hawkers and spaza shops, to independent retailers in shopping malls and small services operations, these businesses are the lifeblood of South Africa’s economy. However, all too many of them lack access to the financial tools and technology infrastructure that large organisations take for granted.

“Too many informal micro-retailers are, like their customers, stuck in a cash economy that doesn’t work for them,” says Mark Elliott, Division President, Mastercard Southern Africa. “Our vision is to enhance technology innovation in this sector to enable greater acceptance of cashless payments – enabling convenience, security and safety while also reducing the cost of cash to consumers and merchants alike.”

Mastercard offers simple solutions for small businesses to accept card and digital payments at physical retail points or on the go, through technologies like Masterpass and in partnership with innovators like iKhokha. Such solutions remove cost and complexity barriers from payments acceptance, including high monthly rentals and transaction costs, and the need for dedicated card payment terminals. All any merchant needs to accept and process payments is a low cost terminal or an Android or iOS device.

Mastercard also supports entrepreneurs through partnerships such as the JA South Africa (JASA) Youth Enterprise Development Programme.

Says Elliott: “Empowering SMMEs is an essential element of meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and a pillar of South Africa’s National Development Plan—both of which we firmly support as pathways to a better, more prosperous South Africa. We believe that any focus on financial inclusion must also focus on the needs of the small businesses that are currently excluded from mainstream payments infrastructure.”

Additional info:

  • Masterpass: Masterpass is a digital payment solution that allows you to make payments faster by storing all of your payment information in one secure location. Say goodbye to checkout forms, forgotten passwords, or rummaging through your wallet. Download your bank's Masterpass app today and load a participating credit, debit or cheque card to get started.

  • iKhokha: Mastercard and mobile commerce provider iKhokha have collaborated to enable South Africans to use Masterpass to safely and seamlessly pay for in-store or face-to-face purchases at over 2,000 local retailers and service providers using their smartphones or tablets.

About Mastercard

Mastercard, (NSYE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter: @MastercardMEA and @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the MEA Engagement Bureau.

Mastercard Communications Contact

Kershnee Govender, +2783 564 4090,
Birgit Deibele