MAKING THE DIGITAL ECONOMY WORK FOR EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE
Leave it to a microscopic virus to lay bare an unvarnished truth about succeeding in society-at-large today: Our wellbeing is intertwined with that of others. Any economy looking to survive, let alone thrive, needs diversity — workers of all genders and backgrounds, businesses of all sizes and types, entrepreneurs of all kinds pushing it forward with their ideas and energy. Put simply: When people thrive, economies thrive. But, according FINDEX’s most recent survey, roughly 1.7 billion adults globally lack access to the digital economy. Leaving these people out means we all risk falling behind. Mastercard wants to change that.
Five years ago, Mastercard committed to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the digital economy. We achieved that goal through more than 350 innovative programs across 80 countries. But that isn’t enough, especially now that a global pandemic has made the contrasts of the digital divide even more stark. We believe the only sustainable growth is inclusive growth. The only way we’re going to achieve that is by building a more connected world where everyone has equal access to a better life.
So we’re doubling down on our original commitment, taking everything we’ve learned so far and reaching to include another 500 million people by 2025, for a total of 1 billion individuals. Alongside that, we’re committing to help 50 million small and micro merchants, with a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.
In Kenya, Mastercard partnered with Unilever to create Jaza Duka (fill up your store), a digital program for micro-merchants in Kenya with more than 18,000 duka owners already registered. The program provides a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which can then assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend formal credit for their stock purchases.
The program has helped people like Mutua Muasia Kivathi, a retailer for 15 years in Kangemi, Kenya, where he and his wife, two sons, and two daughters live. He used to run a cash-only business that limited his ability to purchase stock in bulk and reduced his ability to obtain a credit line due to the business’s lack of records. By participating in the Jaza Duka program, Mutua has grown his business by accessing a credit line provided through a secure Mastercard digital payment solution, available through mobile phones. It has allowed him and other micro-merchants to buy more products, giving them access to formal credit services and helping increase customer traffic. Mutua has been able to grow his business, pay rent, and cover school fees for his children, opening up not only Mutua’s economic potential, but also that of his children.
Jaza Duka owners already registered
approximate orders completed
In partnership with Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale podcast, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth's Executive Director Parag Mehta shares how Mastercard and Unilever joined forces to pilot ‘Jaza Duka’ – an innovative solution in Kenya that addresses one of small businesses’ biggest barriers to growth: lack of access to capital. Together, Mastercard and Unilever leveraged transaction history to help shop owners in Kenya move from a cash-based system to a more formalized way of doing business with new opportunities for obtaining credit.
In the U.S., Mastercard has worked with non-profit microfinance organization Grameen America to support its technology transformation and to transition low-income women entrepreneurs to digital banking. Thanks to this partnership, women can establish a financial identity and grow their businesses by digitizing their operations and accessing microloans. During the current coronavirus crisis, digital payments have enabled them to continue disbursing same-day loans to women entrepreneurs in need, providing critical lifelines of support to their businesses.
Since 2017, Grameen America has opened 4 new branches including one in Newark, NJ where entrepreneurs like Maryluz, a mother of three who runs an accessories boutique, have been able to access microloans to grow their businesses. Now on her second loan from Grameen, Maryluz has been able to purchase merchandise for her store, create a website, and set up a business number to stay in touch with her clients. She credits the improvements for increased foot traffic and sales in the store. With the revenue from the store, she has been saving and with her punctual loan payments, her credit is steadily increasing.
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Mastercard hosted two of the most influential women in microfinance, Andrea Jung, President & CEO of Grameen America, Inc. and Gina Harman, former CEO of U.S. Network Accion, to talk about women's economic empowerment, the challenges female entrepreneurs face and more.
Neumann Kaffee Gruppe
Together with Mastercard, Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, and its coffee export company in Mexico, Exportadora de Café California (ECC), developed a solution to replace cash with electronic payments. The systems were developed to link farmers, merchants, and banks into a modern, digital-enabled supply chain.
In the highlands of Mexico, smallholder coffee farmers work tirelessly to make ends meet. They have operated in a cash economy, where networks of “cash only” middlemen take up to 25% of their harvest’s crop value. Now, these coffee farmers have access to a streamlined, safe, secure, and digitized supply chain payments system developed by Mastercard and NKG.
Mastercard and Neumann Kaffee Gruppe piloted the Café Paga project in Mexico to promote the financial inclusion of coffee farmers. Together with Fundación Capital, the program’s on-the-ground training partner, the program participants also learned basic financial education around card usage and benefits and financial saving and planning. The program has since been expanded to Colombia.
Direct Express partnered with Mastercard to help the U.S. government migrate government benefit payments to digital distribution channels to better serve unbanked segments and reduce costs.
Ray became a Direct Express beneficiary and a participant in its PayPerks program after an accident prevented him from working. In addition to the convenience of the direct payments, Ray has especially enjoyed the ease and convenience of the program’s mobile app. “It’s great, it’s like its own checkbook. It shows you everything you spend and you know where you spend it.” With the app, his financial information is conveniently accessible, all in one place. “All my finances are in the palm of my hand.”