The health and economic consequences of Covid-19 have highlighted the critical need to support vulnerable populations, many of whom are disproportionately impacted. In this time of global crisis, Mastercard has decided to expand 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, it said.
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.
“As we prepare for a post-Covid reality, offering people across the Middle East and North Africa easy access to the digital economy is crucial to drive inclusion and create new opportunities for all. By harnessing the potential of technology and innovation, we will continue to work with our partners in the public and private sector to ensure a more connected future for tens of millions of unbanked people across the region. Together, we are developing solutions that are both commercially viable and socially impactful for generations to come,” said Khalid Elgibali, Division President, Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard.
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 programmes across 80 countries.
Throughout the Middle East & North Africa, fewer than half (44 percent) of adults over the age of 15 have a bank account, according to 2018 data from the World Bank. Mastercard has collaborated with governments and private sector partners across the region to drive financial inclusion and promote access to digital payments. In Egypt, Mastercard worked closely with the Egyptian Government and embarked on a number of ambitious programs, including payroll digitization. In Pakistan, Mastercard partnered with digital wallet JazzCash, enabling merchants to digitize their supply chain and move to cashless operations.
Reaching the global goal of one billion 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.
This announcement builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to support an inclusive recovery by leveraging the company’s technology, capabilities and reach. That work includes:
• In the first weeks of the global health crisis, Mastercard committed up to $25 million in seed funding to establish the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and others to help speed up the response to the Covid-19 epidemic by discovering, developing and scaling-up treatments for deployment around the world.
• Mastercard has committed $250 million in financial, technology, product and services support over the next five years to small businesses in many markets where it operates, supporting the vitality of businesses and the financial security of their workers.
• Mastercard is leveraging its network to provide support to governments around the world in a range of areas. This includes providing data insights to inform policymakers about the economic impact of the pandemic; increasing the speed and efficacy of aid disbursements to communities and business segments that need it most; developing donation platforms to enable emergency fundraising; and working with governments to assist business owners and consumers with cyber vulnerability assessments. –TradeArabia News Service