USAID, Mastercard extend partnership to support women entrepreneurs
The partnership will accelerate efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment in developing countries.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expanded its partnership with Mastercard, a leading payments and technology solutions company, to accelerate efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment in developing countries.
Under the new partnership, the global payment solutions provider said it will join USAID to support the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative of the White House. The partnership also involves improving the access of women entrepreneurs to formal financial services through targeted programmes. These programmes will cover skills training, business development and advocacy.
Earlier in April 2019, Mastercard joined Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the U.S. President, in a USAID delegation to Ethiopia where they met with local businesswomen to discuss the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in Africa. Similarly, in 2018, Mastercard and USAID jointly launched the Smart Communities Coalition – a public-private coalition that delivers infrastructure, including energy, connectivity and digital tools, for more than seven million refugees living in camps or settlements.
According to a statement released by Mastercard on Wednesday, fundamental fairness and exclusion are two of the biggest barriers to women’s prosperity and inclusive growth. Therefore, the private sector should take steps to address the challenges around identity, education, employment, treatment in the workplace and economic empowerment that are impacting women around the world.
“When women work, economies grow. It is quite simple,” said Ann Cairns, Vice Chair of Mastercard. “Efforts like this can drive real change, particularly in a world where no one player alone can solve the world’s challenges. Bringing the public and private sectors together will truly empower women and support them as catalysts for growth, innovation and social change. The ambitions of women to build successful businesses can fuel stronger, more sustainable economies.”
Mastercard, according to the statement, has already committed significant resources to several initiatives aimed at driving growth by empowering women entrepreneurs. These programmes include Start Path, which connects later stage global startups with established businesses to scale and grow their solutions. There is also Jaza Duka and Kionect, which use merchants’ purchase history to provide microloans and secure the inventory they can sell and not just what they can afford.
The payment solutions provider also said it engages with business owners to understand and address a wide range of issues and challenges they face locally and globally. It also builds the digital infrastructure to connect marginalized communities and individuals to everyday services such as healthcare, agricultural markets and humanitarian aid.
“At the U.S. Agency for International Development, we know that investing in women builds resilient, self-reliant and prosperous societies,” said Mark Green, USAID’s Administrator. “Our partnership with Mastercard will accelerate the achievement of these goals by leveraging the collective resources and expertise of the U.S Government to unlock the full economic potential of women around the world.”
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