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Mastercard, AfDB join forces to accelerate digital transformation in Africa


Mastercard and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) have launched a new alliance to extend digital access to critical services to 100 million individuals and businesses in Africa over the next 10 years.

Dubbed ”Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy (MADE) Alliance’‘, the joint effort will initially focus on supporting the agricultural sector and women.

Among the first efforts will be a pilot program launching this year to support three million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria by working with local banks to provide digital identities and access to high-quality seeds and agricultural inputs. The Alliance intends to expand to Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and the rest of the continent.

“Mastercard’s work leading the new MADE Alliance: Africa aims to provide 100 million people greater digital access to critical services,” said Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard.

“Across Africa, people are driving new growth and opportunity, and Mastercard wants to support their success. This Alliance builds on the innovations and investments we are already making with partners in 45 countries to enhance Africa’s digital infrastructure and accelerate inclusive growth.”

As co-chairs, the African Development Bank Group will invest $300 million to support Alliance programs, providing funding for digital infrastructure and incentivizing ecosystem actors to enhance digital access, and Mastercard will register 15 million users in Africa onto its Community Pass platform within five years, with interoperable digital infrastructure to facilitate involvement from a range of ecosystem participants. Launched in 2020, Community Pass is a social enterprise at Mastercard that digitizes and connects remote, underserved communities to governments, NGOs and the private sector for access to critical services.

“The African Development Bank Group believes that digitalization via Mastercard Community Pass can play a vital role in increasing the adoption of agricultural technologies to help feed Africa, as well as improve incomes of millions of African smallholder farmers. Joining the Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy Alliance: Africa will amplify and multiply the impact of the Bank’s investments to build sustainable, climate-smart food systems across the continent. We applaud U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ commitment to financial and digital inclusion in Africa,” said African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina.

The Alliance matches partners’ complementary strengths in key geographies to promote sustainable digital access. Together, the partners will deliver connectivity, skilling, employment and digital access to financial and other critical services.

More than half a dozen organizations have committed to participate in the MADE Alliance: Africa at launch, including Equity Bank, Microsoft, Heifer International, Unconnected.org and Syngenta Foundation. The African Development Bank Group and Mastercard will serve as initial co-chairs of the effort.

The efforts of the MADE Alliance: Africa will support the U.S. Digital Transformation with Africa Initiative (DTA) and the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (DTS).

The announcement was made on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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