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Sub-Saharan Africa

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IFC and The MasterCard Foundation in Sub-Saharan Africa

MasterCard Foundation LogoIn May 2012, IFC and The MasterCard Foundation launched a $37.4 million partnership to increase access to financial services for an estimated 5.3 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Through this new partnership, IFC and The MasterCard Foundation will help microfinance banks expand more rapidly and develop new products and cost-effective delivery channels, while expanding coverage in new, often hard-to-reach locations. The project will also help deliver low-cost mobile financial services to low-income customers.

The MasterCard Foundation has become a major player in the field of microfinance, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, these partnerships have helped provide financial services to over a million people, and provided another two million with access to financial education.

The MasterCard Foundation was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of its initial public offering in 2006. The Foundation operates independently of MasterCard Worldwide. The Foundation’s policies, operations and program decisions are determined by its Board of Directors and CEO.

Since its first microfinance investment in 1997, IFC’s involvement in microfinance has steadily increased, and IFC is now one of the top three global investors in microfinance. As of December 2012, IFC’s microfinance investments reached 149 microfinance institutions through 288 projects in 75 countries. These investments reached 32.9 million borrowers in financial year 2012.

IFC also invested early in mobile financial services, supporting pioneers such as WIZZIT in South Africa, and providing advisory support to MTN in Nigeria and Airtel in Madagascar. IFC’s portfolio includes six investments with dedicated e-payment service providers, and investments with financial intermediaries and mobile network operators offering mobile wallets.

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