Building on the Covid-19 response, Mastercard is also announcing its new worldwide commitment to financial inclusion. The company is pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.
“Financial inclusion remains key to unlocking the potential of Sub-Saharan Africa, and will become crucial as we support Governments in driving long-term, sustainable economic recovery,” said Raghav Prasad, Mastercard’s Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Through this initiative, the company plans to provide solutions to 25 million women entrepreneurs that can help them grow their businesses. This move builds on the company’s efforts to address the challenges presented by covid-19 globally, including in Africa.
Digital transactions have been lobbied for their safety and efficiency especially in unprecedented times like this. In the past, the company had pledged to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the financial system in 2015, and so far that goal was achieved. The company was able to meet its goal by introducing 350 innovative programs across 80 countries.
Now, with the 2025 goal, the company has introduced a Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion, to help achieve the financial inclusion goal. The lab will leverage public-private partnerships, as well as the innovation of locally relevant technology solutions like the Mastercard Farmer Network already available to small farmers in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, according to the firm.
There’s also Kupaa in the Ugandan market, a mobile payment platform for parents and caregivers to pay school fees and other school expenses in partnership with UNICEF. In Kenya, there is Jaza Duka, a digital program for micro-merchants in Kenya currently boasting more than 18,000 registered ‘duka’ owners.
Besides, the company also has several efforts underway including wage digitization 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 more.
“Our focus right now – beyond philanthropy – is to steadfastly continue collaborating with governments and private sector partners on solutions that are safe, viable, and most importantly, socially impactful for communities across the region,” added Raghav Prasad.