Johannesburg, South Africa, May 7, 2012—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation today launched
a partnership to increase access to financial services for an estimated
5.3 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa. Building on recent economic momentum
and stability in many African economies, the project will create new opportunities
for economically disadvantaged people to expand businesses, gain access
to cost-effective financial services, and manage risk.
Through this new $37.4 million 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 providers to
deliver low-cost mobile financial services to low-income customers.
“Disadvantaged people derive real benefits from having more control over
their finances, and our partnership with IFC will help bring responsible
financial services to a significant number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa,”
said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “As we
scale institutions and support new mobile financial service opportunities,
this partnership will also create knowledge that will be invaluable in
promoting greater financial inclusion.”
The MasterCard Foundation has become a major player in the field of microfinance,
particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, having forged partnerships worth more
than $230 million since its inception in 2006. 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 partnership is IFC’s largest with a private
“This partnership leverages IFC’s global expertise, local knowledge,
and client networks to promote greater financial inclusion,” said Nena
Stoiljkovic, IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services. “It will
help IFC clients do more for low-income customers in Africa.”
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 June 2011, IFC had directly committed
over $1.2 billion in investments to microfinance projects globally, with
more than 150 financial institutions in over 60 countries.
IFC 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.
IFC’s microfinance and mobile financial services programs in Sub-Saharan
Africa have received support from the African Development Bank, Austrian
Development Bank, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO),
and the governments of Austria, Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth
by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and
governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets.
In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our
clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute
to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time
high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote
financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed
partners in over 48 developing countries, it is helping people living in
poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper. Based in Toronto,
Canada, The MasterCard Foundation was established through the generosity
of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering
in 2006. It operates independently of MasterCard Worldwide. For more information,