On Thursday, January 22 in Davos, Switzerland, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and MasterCard announced a broad collaboration that aims to expand financial inclusion across the African continent. The collaboration seeks to develop solutions that drive inclusive growth in Africa by broadening access and usage of digital financial services.
MasterCard brings proven expertise to design and scale inclusive financial services solutions and infrastructure. The AfDB actively promotes sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in Africa. Together they will work with African governments and local private sector companies to develop and deliver affordable services that meet the needs of a wide consumer base, especially the traditionally unbanked.
Specifically, the collaboration will seek to:
- Build cohesive African financial systems that drive inclusion at a country level and enable service delivery to traditionally excluded populations;
- Invest in a curated set of innovative financial services companies and solutions targeted at addressing barriers that hinder financial inclusion; and
- Share knowledge across academic, policy and commercial sectors to create thought leadership on financial inclusion and economic development.
Donald Kaberuka, President of the AfDB, commented: “Despite the phenomenal economic growth in Africa, this has not translated into shared prosperity and better livelihoods for the majority. Growth has to be inclusive to be socially and politically sustainable. One key component of inclusive development is financial inclusion, an area in which Africa has been lagging behind other continents. Broadening access to financial services will mobilize greater household savings, marshal capital for investment, expand the class of entrepreneurs, and enable more people to invest in themselves and their families.”
Ajay Banga, President and CEO at MasterCard, said: “Less than one adult out of four in Africa has access to an account at a formal financial institution. While many of our industry partners have been active in this space, we believe that through our payments expertise, and the AfDB’s 50 years of experience in financing Africa’s economic transformation, we can achieve scaled impact and lasting transformation. This can only be accomplished when the public and private sectors combine resources and act together.”