Wainaina’s responsibilities will include driving MasterCard’s East Africa business strategy forward by identifying and introducing innovative payment solutions relevant to the market, and working closely with all stakeholders including government, financial institutions and retailers in assisting the region to develop a modernised economy that is less dependent on cash.
Based at the MasterCard East Africa headquarters in Nairobi, Wainaina will coordinate all business activity to support MasterCard’s strategy to grow further in the region, specifically in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Mauritius and the remaining Indian Ocean Islands.
Sub-Saharan Africa Division President Daniel Monehin emphasised that Africa is of vital importance to the company’s global business strategy.
“The East Africa region in particular has proven to be receptive to product innovation and our vision of a world beyond cash. The appointment of James demonstrates our commitment to Africa in general, to East Africa, and specifically to our hub for this strategic market, Kenya,” he added.
Wainaina’s appointment follows the 2012 restructuring announcement of MasterCard’s Middle East and Africa business into three divisions comprising Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Africa (SA).
This change will enable MasterCard to get closer to its customer banks, merchants and consumers in the markets.
“Our Sub-Saharan African business includes two regional offices based in Nigeria and in Kenya. It has been our goal to appoint a resident resource to lead our East Africa business building on the successful work we have already completed,” Monehin said.
“James will be taking the reins from Charlton Goredema, who will be moving over to head up activity in Southern Africa, from his base in South Africa,” he added.
With extensive local financial industry experience, Wainaina joins MasterCard from the NIC Bank Group, where he was most recently Director of Retail Banking, responsible for formulating and executing the bank’s retail banking strategy.
His previous experience was gleaned at Barclays Bank of Kenya, where he was Head of Retail Sales and Head of Direct Sales, before which he worked at Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya for six years.
He holds an honours degree in Mathematics and Economics from the Kenyatta University, and is a certified International Retail Banker by the International Academy of Retail Banking in London.
“James’s vast knowledge of the retail banking environment in East Africa will be a substantial asset for MasterCard’s business in the region,” Monehin said.
“He is well known and respected in the financial services sector, and will work closely with governments, financial institutions and merchants to realise MasterCard’s vision of a world beyond cash,” he emphasised.