Press Release: Mastercard and USAID Extend Relationship to Support Women Entrepreneurs
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Women are a driving force for increasing global economic growth and security, representing more than half of the world’s population and 80 percent of household buying decisions. They are critical to ensuring that growth is inclusive, extending these benefits to everyone, everywhere.
To further unlock access to the tools that advance women’s economic potential, Mastercard today broadened its relationship with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in support of the White House’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP).
In this partnership, Mastercard will accelerate efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment in developing countries and to improve women entrepreneurs’ access to formal financial services through targeted programs:
- Skills Training – including regional programs to increase awareness and use of financial services and financial literacy programs
- Business Development – increasing access to global markets through digital solutions, capital, and secure payment networks
- Advocacy – addressing barriers that block women from freely and fully accessing financial services
“It’s quite simple. When women work, economies grow,” said Ann Cairns, vice chairman, Mastercard. “Efforts like this can drive real change, particularly in a world where no one player alone can solve the world’s challenges. Bringing the public and private sectors together will truly empower women and support them as catalysts for growth, innovation and social change. Their ambitions to build successful businesses can fuel stronger, more sustainable economies.”
The announcement comes alongside the ninth Global Entrepreneur Summit, a two-day event that brings together businesses, governments, investors and innovators to support the growth engine of the world’s economy and transform ideas into action.
“At the U.S. Agency for International Development, we know that investing in women builds resilient, self-reliant, and prosperous societies,” said Mark Green, USAID Administrator. “USAID’s partnership with Mastercard will accelerate the achievement of these goals by leveraging the collective resources and expertise of the U.S. Government to unlock the full economic potential of women around the world.”
Fundamental fairness and exclusion are two of the biggest barriers to women’s prosperity and inclusive growth. The private sector can take steps to address the challenges around identity, education, employment, treatment in the workplace, and economic empowerment that are impacting women around the world.
Mastercard has already committed significant resources to several initiatives that aim to drive growth by empowering women entrepreneurs, including:
- Developing and extending products and services that deliver the benefits and access that help manage and grow businesses of all sizes
- Engaging with business owners to understand and address a wide range of issues and challenges they face locally and globally
- Identifying and cultivating entrepreneurs through programs like Start Path, which connects later stage global start-ups with established businesses to scale and grow their solutions
- Building the digital infrastructure to connect marginalized communities and individuals to everyday services such as healthcare, agricultural markets, and humanitarian aid
- Fueling women-led businesses with access to capital and training through efforts like Jaza Duka and Kionect which uses merchants’ purchase history to provide microloans and secure the inventory they can sell and not just what they can afford. Previously, women have accessed less than 12 percent of credit facilities across the financial sector
The company’s efforts in support of W-GDP will continue to extend and enhance these activities. Earlier this spring, Mastercard joined with advisor to the President of the United States, Ivanka Trump, in a USAID delegation to Ethiopia where they met with local businesswomen to discuss the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in Africa.
This new commitment builds on Mastercard’s existing partnership with USAID. In 2018, the two organizations launched the Smart Communities Coalition, a public-private coalition that delivers infrastructure for more than seven million refugees living in camps or settlements, including energy, connectivity, and digital tools.
Photo courtesy of Bioversity International.