Press release: Nine new projects focused on financial inclusion to receive more than US $9 million
The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP) today announced that nine companies from seven countries will receive more than US$9 million to support projects that expand financial inclusion in rural Africa. The nine companies were selected from more than 300 firms competing in the first two phases of the Fund’s 2017/2018 rolling competition, which launched in June 2017 and closed in January 2018.
The 2017/2018 rolling competition was one of the Fund’s largest in its efforts to find and support providers of innovative and scalable financial products and services that improve the lives of poor people living in rural areas of Africa. Financing for another group of companies, assessed as part of the third and fourth phases of the competition, will be announced in 2019.
The latest round of financial support will extend innovative transactions, green energy, asset finance, mobile banking, agency banking, and distribution/logistics solutions to excluded rural populations in the seven countries.
Phase #1 selected companies are:
- Equity Bank Congo SA
- FutureLink Technologies Limited
- Apollo Agriculture Limited
- SolarNow Services Limited
- Easy Solar Limited
- Dodore Kenya Limited
Phase #2 selected companies are:
- Farmerline Limited
- Stewards Globe Limited
- Microcred Limited
The nature and geographical diversity of the new projects saw the Fund expand its presence to four additional Sub-Saharan countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Zambia. The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity portfolio now includes 30 projects in 11 countries in Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia). The projects comprise a range of businesses from traditional banks and solar-energy leasing companies to agricultural off-taker firms.
“We are excited to add nine more companies to our growing portfolio that is having a positive impact on the lives of millions of people across Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Wambui Chege, Team Leader of the Fund for Rural Prosperity. “Today’s announcement reinforces our belief that there is a wide range of innovative, Africa-led projects that, with a little support, can drive financial inclusion across the continent.”
Lindsay Wallace, Director of Strategy and Learning at the Mastercard Foundation, said: “The aim of the FRP has always been to enable smallholder farmers and poor people living in rural Africa to reach their full potential by supporting new private sector initiatives that provide access to financial services. We’re very happy to see this latest round of selected firms, demonstrating the depth and breadth of ideas and action plans that will do just that.”
An overview of the nine projects that have just been selected can be found below. As well, more information about the 2017/2018 Rolling Competition is available on the website www.frp.org.
Photo courtesy of A’Melody Lee.