MasterCard, a technology company in the global payments industry and UN Women, a UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, have announced a partnership to financially empower women across the globe.
The partnership was entered into because nearly 2.4 billion people live without any form of official personal identification, and the majority of them are women.
A pilot, which aims to provide half a million Nigerian women with ID cards enabled with electronic payments functionality, will be launched in Nigeria. This will be the first initiative in the partnership.
“Research has shown that as soon as a person has a formal identity and access to electronic payments, they can prosper in ways they haven’t imagined before,” said Martina Hund-Mejean, chief financial officer of MasterCard.
She added, “Our relationship with UN Women will help make a real difference in these women’s lives as they are more fully empowered to achieve their true potential.”
According to the World Bank, only 47 percent of women worldwide have access to formal financial services, compared to 51 percent of men. In Africa, this number increases to more than 70 percent of women.
“One of UN Women’s main objectives is to increase women’s economic empowerment. The partnership with MasterCard will help pave the way to economic freedom and financial inclusion for women, initially in Nigeria,” says Lakshmi Puri, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Deputy Executive Director.
“We look forward to working together and see the potential of expanding the model to benefit women also in other countries. It is also encouraging that we will collaborate on knowledge generation, advocacy and resource mobilization for greater investment in gender equality and women’s empowerment – reflecting MasterCard and its CEO’s deep commitment to a Planet 50/50 and to supporting UN WOMEN’s efforts,” she added.
The partnership will see MasterCard and UN Women further explore how and when Nigerians have signed up for the country’s national identity card program. Based on these insights, a targeted program will be launched to educate women on the benefits of the program and enrol them for the identity card.
The partnership, which will advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, is part of broader International Women’s Day activities.