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Mastercard and DFC collaborate to enable digitisation and financial inclusion across Africa

By Edlyn Cardoza

December 19, 2022

  • Africa
  • Digital Economy
  • Digital Transactions

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Mastercard, Financial Institutions, Mastercard Community Pass, Financial Inclusion, Digital Economy, Digital Transactions, FinTech, Start Path Program, AfricaAt the close of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Mastercard announced a collaboration to increase support to financial institutions, agricultural and technology companies, and other businesses engaged with Mastercard Community Pass, a digital platform designed to address infrastructure challenges that arise in digitising rural communities, such as unreliable connectivity, low smartphone ownership, and lack of consistent identification or credentials.

Through this collaboration, DFC will seek to support potential investments of up to $50 million in organisations within the Community Pass network. Community Pass has a growing presence across five countries in Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, and Mauritania, and it is also live in India.

“DFC places a priority on mobilizing private sector investment in building out digital infrastructure,” said DFC’s CEO Scott Nathan. “DFC and Mastercard’s work in bolstering financial inclusion and improving access to digital tools will help make progress toward our shared goal of bridging the digital divide.”

Mastercard aims to reach 15 million Community Pass users in Africa, and 30 million users in total, by 2027. By growing the network of financial institutions and service providers on the Community Pass platform, this collaboration between DFC and Mastercard seeks to increase access to critical services in underserved communities, with the broader goal of building a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy for all.

“The Community Pass platform enables businesses, governments, and NGOs to service rural and frequently offline communities. For example, farmers can access quality seeds, fertilizers, and buyers, as well as payments and credit,” said Mastercard’s Executive Vice President of Humanitarian and Development, Tara Nathan. “Our partnership with DFC exemplifies how funding from the public sector, combined with technology and expertise from the private sector, can create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Through Community Pass, service providers can expand access to essential services and reduce the cost of delivering them. The platform helps enable digital transactions through innovative features and secure data platforms. For example, financial institutions and ag techs in Africa are using Community Pass to digitise agricultural value chains, enable access to credit, and create a bigger pool of buyers, helping smallholder farmers get paid more and faster.

Mastercard’s focus on building and scaling its Community Pass platform is one example of the company’s commitment to advancing economic development and financial inclusion in Africa. In collaboration with partners like DFC — and other international organisations, governments, banks and FinTechs, and more — Mastercard is working to connect to individuals at the base of the pyramid with digital tools, including millions of farmers in Africa who use Community Pass to access markets, grow their enterprises, and bolster their financial security. Mastercard has supported over a dozen African start-ups through its award-winning Start Path program.

Scott Nathan of DFC joined Tara Nathan of Mastercard for a conversation about mobilising private sector investment and promoting financial inclusion in Africa and opportunities for enabling agricultural development, climate adaptation, better health outcomes, and more.

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