New York-headquartered multinational financial services corporation, MasterCard has announced the commitment of up to US$1 million over the next three years to advance economic growth and financial inclusion in Rwanda.
The announcement was made on May 13, 2016 by Raghu Malhotra, President, Middle East and Africa for MasterCard at the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF) in Kigali.
“The Rwandan story is one of triumph over adversity, and the country stands as an example on how embracing technology and striving for a financially inclusive society can overcome the challenges of poverty,” said Raghu Malhotra.
He added, “MasterCard is committed to helping develop a Cashless Rwanda, and the establishment of the grant is further testament to the importance we place in our collaboration with the Rwandan government.”
Rwanda has made important strides when it comes to financial inclusion. According to the World Bank, only 16 percent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have bank accounts.
The case is quite different in Rwanda where 42 percent of adults own a financial account, whether formal or informal, and 1.6 million people have opened accounts in the country’s national SACCO savings and loan program.
In Rwanda, small businesses comprise 97.8 percent of the private sector and account for 36 percent of private sector employment, emphasising how important it is for the private sector to get involved to offer assistance and expertise.
The funds will be used to deliver a holistic mix of tools and resources, providing an opportunity to connect micro-entrepreneurs in Rwanda to the formal economy. This will help them to expand their businesses.
“Partnering with MasterCard to drive growth in our business sector is another important step in empowering our citizens,” said Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board.
He added, “This intention will go a long way in helping us reach our goal of creating full financial inclusion and a cashless economy in Rwanda.”
The fund will be managed by the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, which is focused on the long term equitable economic growth of countries and communities.
The organization advances financial inclusion and connect leaders on the front lines of inclusive growth by combining MasterCard resources – including data, expertise, technology and philanthropic investments.