In this week’s roundup of industry news, payments processors are building on their partner capabilities, Mastercard connects farmers to the agricultural supply chain in East Africa, and worldwide cashless payments are rapidly rising.

First Data nods to PFs and other partners with new business unit. Payments processing giant First Data announced that it has launched a new business segment it’s calling its Integrated Solutions Group. In a move that recognizes the growing importance of partners such as payment facilitators, ISVs, value-added resellers and software developers, the new division will focus on enabling developers to integrate with First Data’s systems.

“The launch of Integrated Solutions marks an important new chapter of openness for First Data, and continues the spirit of collaboration we have built in recent years,” Guy Chiarello, president, First Data, said in the company’s press release. “From our point-of-sale operating systems to our eCommerce solutions and mobile technology, First Data has made significant strides in building platforms to spur the development of next-generation FinTech innovations.”

Mastercard launches mobile marketplace for East Africa. Mastercard launched a new digital platform that it said connects small farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa. The platform, which the company calls 2KUZE, enables farmers to transact using their feature phones.

Mastercard developed 2KUZE at its Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, and is launching it with Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a global non-profit organization that works with farmers.

“We believe that by using mobile, a technology that is so ubiquitous among farmers in Africa, we can improve financial access, bring in operational efficiency and facilitate faster payments. The collaboration between the Lab team and farmers in the market helped to deliver a solution that can be implemented and make an impact without any major changes to the day-to-day,” Daniel Monehin, division president for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for International Markets at Mastercard, said in a release.

Vantiv launches new cloud-based application. Payments technology provider Vantiv Integrated Payments announced the launch of its triPOS Cloud, a cloud-based application that enables independent software vendors to integrate business applications with Vantiv’s payments processing capabilities. TriPOS Cloud is an extension of the company’s existing triPOS line.

“Cloud-based payments applications are growing rapidly, whether it’s an add-on application to solve for omnichannel or a standalone solution, we have a large demand from current and prospective developers to solve this important need,” said Matt Downs, head of channel and business development, Integrated Payments at Vantiv. “triPOS solves this by managing payment devices from the cloud. We believe this presents a great opportunity to single source innovation and payment acquiring for developers, thereby making their lives easier.”

RBR study shows surge in cashless payments. A study from research and consulting firm RBR, titled Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021, found that cashless payments rose 52% between 2011 and 2015. The firm said in a press release that 471 billion cashless payments were made worldwide in 2015.