In this time of global crisis, american company Mastercard expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.
As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.
The health and economic consequences of COVID-19 have highlighted the critical need to support vulnerable populations, many of whom are disproportionately impacted. 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.
“If we’re going to recover in any sort of long-term, sustainable way, we have to make sure that everyone is included. Getting people access to the digital economy is a critical part of that,” said Ajay Banga, CEO at Mastercard.
“This is so much more than philanthropy. This is an opportunity to develop commercially-sustainable and scalable social impact with government and private sector partners—and to do it in a way that helps society-at-large thrive.”
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.
In the U.S., Mastercard has worked with non-profit microfinance organization Grameen America to support its technology transformation and to transition low-income women entrepreneurs to digital banking. Thanks to this partnership, women can establish a financial identity and grow their businesses by digitizing their operations and accessing microloans.
To date, Grameen America has disbursed over $1.5 billion to help more than 132,000 women entrepreneurs build or expand their businesses. During the current coronavirus crisis, digital payments have enabled them to continue disbursing same-day loans to women entrepreneurs in need, providing critical lifelines of support to their businesses.
In Mexico, together with Neumann Kaffee Gruppe and its coffee export company Exportadora de Café California (ECC), Mastercard created a digital supply chain payment system that provides a streamlined, safe, secure and speedy way to pay farmers directly, allowing them to earn more for their crop.
NKG and Mastercard are building on these efforts to bring digital payments to other markets and protect more vulnerable cash-only farmers.
In Kenya, Mastercard partnered with Unilever to create Jaza Duka (fill up your store), a digital program for micro-merchants in Kenya with more than 18,000 duka owners already registered. The program provides a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which can then assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend formal credit for stock purchases.
Reaching the one billion goal will require a broad range of efforts, including ongoing work on government disbursement solutions, wage digitization of private sector workers, partnerships with mobile network operators, 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 programs.
Today’s announcement builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to support an inclusive recovery by leveraging the company’s technology, capabilities and reach.
Andrea Jung, President and CEO, Grameen USA says, “We know that access to capital is critical for women and families for whom the mainstream financial system is out of reach. We welcome Mastercard’s expanded financial inclusion commitment and will continue to partner on opportunities that will advance economic mobility through entrepreneurship in the United States.”
Michael Schlein, President and CEO of global nonprofit Accion says, “Mastercard and Accion work together to unlock opportunities for millions of people to build a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities. Our shared efforts to help microentrepreneurs benefit from the digital economy and deepen their financial resilience is more important now than ever. Doing so requires collaborative and innovative partnerships, and we look forward to working alongside Mastercard to make it happen.”
Daniel H. Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal says, “As a longtime partner with Mastercard on the journey to expand financial inclusion opportunities, we have seen first-hand the life-changing effect of providing financial health and economic opportunities to businesses, individuals and communities. No one group can do it alone. In order to make the digital economy more inclusive, it will take vision, commitment and a combined effort by the public and private sectors to bring underserved populations into the digital economy.”
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum said, “Achieving greater financial inclusion for individuals and small businesses into the digital economy requires collaboration and unique partnerships across sectors and geographies. As companies like Mastercard extend their financial inclusion commitment, society must adapt to meet the evolving needs of everyone in the global marketplace.”