Ghana is one of 19 African countries set to benefit from a partnership between UBA and Mastercard.

The partnership would make UBA a MasterCard issuer in 18 new markets in Africa where  UBA would act as the issuer of MasterCard  Credit, Debit, and Prepaid  cards in all theses markets.

Apart from the issuance of MasterCard cards, the partnership would also lead to the provision of  point-of-sale devices as well as mobile-point-of-sale infrastructure to equip merchants in facilitating electronic payment transactions.

The 18 countries to feel the impact of the partnership are Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Benin, Cameron, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bisaau, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique,  Congo, Senegal, Seirra Leone, Tanzania Uganda and Zambia.READ MORE: United Bank for Africa UBA Bank announces Relocations and two new branch openings

"As the needs of our customers change, we are adapting through strategic innovations and partnerships to provide them with excellent and convenient services. Through these strategic partnerships, we are able to accelerate the drive for financial inclusion and economic well-being across the African continent" said Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director-Designate, UBA plc.Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard, Daniel Monehin said: "This focus on infrastructure and the roll out of easy-to-access solutions is a key part of driving financial inclusion and a move away from cash in these markets. MasterCard's continued innovation in the payments space coupled with UBA's extensive pan-African network will mean the introduction of increased competition and a stronger financial sector in these regions."According to the World Bank, there are approximately 2.5 billion people, who are financially excluded. Access to financial tools creates economic empowerment and reduces poverty. MasterCard has the tools and resources – including potential partnerships – to drive real change today.

On June 27, 2016, MasterCard set a goal to connect 40 million micro and small merchants to its electronic payments network within five years. This expands on the company's Universal Financial Access 2020 commitment made last year.

To date, financial inclusion has been predominantly centered on providing the underserved and the unbanked with tools and transaction accounts. This remains a critical need with two billion unbanked people, the majority of whom are women, forced to operate in a cash economy.