The has announced the initial winners of its as well as new partnerships aimed at benefiting poor and marginalized populations across Africa.
The nine winning companies in the Innovation Competition will receive a total of $6.9 million through the $50 million to implement projects that provide financial products and services to some 1.7 million poor and marginalized people in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The foundation also announced support totaling $47 million for three rural and agricultural partnerships, including $15 million to an project in Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania that seeks to help more than seven hundred thousand smallholder farmer households access the financial support they need to increase farm yields and family incomes; $25 million for a partnership with to enable as many as one million smallholder farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia access financial services and technical support through digital technology; and $6.5 million to the and to create a that will work to deepen understanding of the financial service needs of smallholder farmers and rural poor families and share best practices in responding to those needs.
"These new made-in-Africa solutions have a good chance of giving poor people in rural areas the financial access they need," said MasterCard Foundation president and CEO Reeta Roy. "It was exciting to see so many companies responding to our call for proposals, thinking outside-the-box to figure out low-cost ways to deliver savings, credit, and insurance to this population."