The has announced the launch of a $50 million fund aimed at bringing financial services to businesses and smallholder farmers in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
To be managed by KPMG International Advisory Services, the will provide $15 million to support ideas for new products, services, and processes that increase access to financial services among the rural poor. The remaining $35 million will support efforts to scale ideas or pilots with the potential to drive financial inclusion for smallholder farmers.
Initial proposals will be accepted through March 20 for projects in Burundi, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. Later in the year, proposals will be accepted for products and services in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
"Over the last decade, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have enjoyed substantial economic growth, but much of this growth has not benefited the rural poor, especially smallholder farmers who are mostly women and who depend on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods," said MasterCard Foundation president and CEO Reeta Roy. "This new fund will stimulate private sector organizations to provide affordable and accessible savings, credit, and insurance products. These services are essential to enable African farmers to increase productivity and incomes and, ultimately, grow rural economies."