MasterCard Teams With Gates Foundation to Expand Digital Financial Services in East Africa
Thursday, December 4, 2014
MasterCard has unveiled the launch of MasterCard Labs for Financial Inclusion, a new initiative seeking to impact more than 100 million people globally by developing practical and cost-effective financial tools that expand access and help build stable futures over the long term.
Through an $11 million grant over three years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the lab will generate new ideas with local entrepreneurs, governments and other stakeholders across East Africa, and rapidly move from concept to reality.
“Too many people lack access to the most basic financial services, leaving them trapped in a cash economy that imposes greater risks and costs on those least able to afford them,” said Ajay Banga, president and CEO at MasterCard. “Through the investment made by the Gates Foundation, coupled with our strong innovation processes, MasterCard will create and scale financial services that open up a world of inclusion and help people build better, brighter futures.”
The Gates Foundation works with the private sector, NGOs, governments and others to direct resources and expertise to address critical challenges that can’t be solved by market forces alone. With this grant, the foundation seeks to extend financial services to those whose economic lives are inhibited and eclipsed by a combination of local factors and institution-wide exclusion. The grant enables MasterCard to reach into these new markets that may otherwise be commercially unviable.
Globally, digital payment innovations let more people take advantage of formal financial services. These tools are simple to use, efficient and have the potential to dramatically reduce costs.