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... Company eyes growth in the Caribbean market

Published:Monday | December 23, 2019 | 12:15 AM

Calling the Caribbean a high-potential market, growth, and a consistent presence in the region continues to be the main mission for President of the Caribbean Division at Mastercard Marcelo Tangioni.

Speaking to The Gleaner at its annual Innovation Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in Miami Beach, Florida, recently, Tangioni said that the establishment of shops in the region reflects its commitment to the people Mastercard serves.

“I think what’s different and unique about the Caribbean is the upside opportunities. So that’s very sexy for everyone. I think that everybody looks at that in a very enthusiastic way, the fact that we are now prioritising the Caribbean – building local presence, hiring local people – that creates an extra excitement with our customers, because they are seeing that Mastercard is putting the money where our mouths is, delivering on the promise to be closer to governments, to customers, to our consumers, and obviously, bringing the right products, bringing the right technology and innovation to those markets as well,” said Tangioni.

Last year, Mastercard redefined its strategy for the 27 country divisions it manages in the Caribbean.

“We have been opening local offices, hiring local people, investing more in our brand, investing more in our customers,” said Tangioni.

He added that for electronic payments to thrive, it is important for the right ecosystem to exist.

“There’s a lot of investment to be done. It’s not a region where you are going to have a very shortterm return on your investments. It’s something that takes time. You have to engage very strongly with the local stakeholders, not only our customers, but with corporations, with merchants, with governments. So there is a very thorough approach that we have to do in order to start building that ecosystem, making sure that we are all moving together, ideally on the same pace but always going in the same direction in order to build that ecosystem. Once we have the right ecosystem in place, then we are going to start seeing acceleration growth in all those countries,” said Tangioni.

Education also needed

He added that along with the right ecosystem, education has to be another major ingredient as persons need to be informed about what is available and how it can possibly benefit them and the economy.

“It’s interesting that education is not just with the individual. You have to educate corporations as well as governments. When you look at the markets, sometimes the government is the biggest player responsible for the payments in cash and cheques, and they are starting to understand the importance of moving from paper to electronic; how strong the contribution [to] the GDP (gross domestic product) of a country [can be], every time that we move from paper to electronic. But the moment that they truly understand those benefits, then we are going to start seeing them embracing that change and leading by example,” said Tangioni.

Although many argue that the Caribbean region is lagging behind, technology is advancing, Tangioni said. He argues that there is also a positive aspect to this lag, depending on how one looks at it.

“This is the good news, about, perhaps, not yet being as developed from an electronics payments point of view as compared to other markets: with the new technology happening, the world going digital in those markets, the Caribbean can leapfrog a lot of the phases that the other markets had to go through in order to be where they are today. The digital consumption nowadays is very different than it was 10 years ago,” said Tangioni.

– Carlene Davis