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Mastercard has expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of one billion people and 50mn micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025

mastercard atr 30There will be a direct focus on providing 25mn women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses. (Image source: Armi Lafiniarivo/Pixabay)

As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25mn women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.

The extended commitment builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 related health and economic challenges facing individuals all over the world, including in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Financial inclusion remains crucial to unlocking the potential of sub-Saharan Africa, and will become crucial as we support Governments in driving long-term, sustainable economic recovery. Digital transactions are both safe and efficient and giving access to these for as many people as possible, is an important part of supporting the most vulnerable parts of the population through the current situation,” said Raghav Prasad, Mastercard’s division president for sub-Saharan Africa.

At the 2015 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, Mastercard committed to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the financial system. It achieved that goal through more than 350 innovative programs across 80 countries.

The Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion – the technology company’s first lab focused on financial inclusion – is committed to empowering millions of Africans through the use of public-private partnerships, and the innovation of locally relevant technology solutions

One such solution is the Mastercard Farmer Network, a mobile platform that improves market access, increases price transparency and digitises payments to connect small farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Mastercard expanded its partnership with Unilever to create Jaza Duka (fill up your store) - a digital programme for micro-merchants in Kenya with more than 18,000 duka owners already registered. The programme provides a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which can then assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend credit for stock purchases.

Additional efforts include ongoing work on government disbursement solutions, wage digitisation of private sector workers, solutions for gig workers, scaling efforts with fintechs, digital platforms and digital wallets/apps, solutions addressing needs of the financially vulnerable and the expansion of CityKey and Community Pass programmes.