Announcement made During Event Held Under the High Patronage of the Prime Minister His Excellency Mr. Najib Mikati

To tweet this news, copy and paste http://bit.ly/zshPmE to your Twitter handle with the hashtag #MasterCard, #FinancialInclusion, #Philanthropy, #Youth, #Alliance

Beirut , Lebanon, 08February, 2012 – During an event held under the High Patronage Of the Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Najib Mikati, MasterCard Worldwide, http://newsroom.mastercard.com/, today announced that the Company is teaming up with INJAZ Al-Arab, a non-profit organization in the Middle East. INJAZ Al-Arab, member of Junior Achievement Worldwide collaborates with corporate volunteers and Ministries of Education to provide experiential education and training to Arab youth in work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. MasterCard will support INJAZ Al-Arab’s It’s My Business, a leading entrepreneurial mentorship program developed for youth in Lebanon and countries across Middle East and North Africa.

The announcement was made at an event, which MasterCard and INJAZ Al-Arab held at the Intercontinental Phoenicia Hotel, Beirut, marked by the attendance of H.E. Mr. Walid Daouk, Minister of Information, Lebanon, as well as, Soraya Salti, INJAZ Al-Arab Regional Director and Junior Achievement Senior Vice President, Middle East and North Africa, Patricia Devereux, group head, Corporate Philanthropy and Citizenship, Michael Miebach, president, Middle East  and Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, Basel El Tell, vice president and regional manager, Levant, MasterCard Worldwide.

MasterCard’s support to INJAZ Al Arab’s entrepreneurship program is rooted in the company’s long standing commitment towards Lebanon and the Middle East and Africa region. MasterCard is committed to furthering financial inclusion through the power of entrepreneurship as this increases the prosperity of communities and ensures that people have an opportunity to achieve their full potential.

The It’s My Business program is centered around an entrepreneurship curriculum for middle school students with a strong focus on social studies, reading and writing skills. MasterCard’s support towards INJAZ Al-Arab is closely connected with the Company’s global collaboration with Junior Achievement.

“I give full credit to organizations such as INJAZ Al-Arab and MasterCard who are committed to introducing programs that enhance the skills and capabilities of Arab youth,” said H.E., Walid Daouk, Minister of Information, Lebanon. “The introduction of It’s My Business program in Lebanon, will provide our youth with a wealth of knowledge on financial literacy and business-related skills, which will allow them to thrive when they enter the real world.”

Salti said; “We at INJAZ Al-Arab are privileged to collaborate with MasterCard to bring the It’s My Business program to Arab youth. Youth unemployment in the MENA region currently stands at 25%, which is double the world average. Moreover, research from Booz & Company shows that on average, youth are waiting five years after graduation to find their first job. Receiving support from MasterCard allows us to address this youth unemployment crisis by improving the workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills of Arab youth.”

“At MasterCard, we strongly believe in creating new opportunities for people to thoughtfully and knowledgeably participate in the global economy,” said Devereux. “Extending our global agreement with Junior Achievement in collaboration with INJAZ Al-Arab demonstrates our commitment to furthering financial inclusion for everyone. By supporting educational and skill-building initiatives, we aim to develop a generation of educated and motivated young people who will positively contribute to their community.”

“All young people deserve an opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Miebach. “MasterCard is proud to work with INJAZ Al-Arab to launch the It’s My Business program, which we believe is a great investment in youth in Lebanon and across the Middle East and North Africa. Equipping the youth with entrepreneurship skills will enable them to pursue their own business, thus reducing unemployment rates and allowing them to build stronger futures for themselves and their families while positively contributing to the economic development of their countries.”

INJAZ Al-Arab brought together regional experts in education, business, as well as representatives from its Member Nations to develop content and produce a regional edition of It’s My Business.  The pilot of this initiative will be implemented in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, after which the curriculum will be made available throughout the INJAZ network of 14 countries.

INJAZ will also develop online extended learning opportunities for participants to more deeply engage the program outside of the class room.  These online sessions would include additional edutainment features like games, video interviews with entrepreneurs, and supplemental learning materials.

The pilot will aim to reach approximately 3,000 youth in the seventh grade.  INJAZ has agreements with the ministries of education where it operates to implement the programs during the school day.

In line with the sponsorship, MasterCard will also support in the implementation of the program with employees acting as volunteers .INJAZ will work closely to utilize MasterCard volunteers, as well as its existing network of private sector volunteers who will be trained to implement the program in schools across the Middle East.

For further information about MasterCard’s involvement with Junior Achievement Worldwide please visit http://newsroom.mastercard.com/2011/10/20/ja-and-mastercard-equipping-students-for-the-future/

###

About Junior Achievement

INJAZ Al-Arab is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide.

JA Worldwide is the world’s largest organization committed to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Now in its 90th year, JA Worldwide provides hands-on, experiential learning in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness to 9.3 million students annually. With 510 local offices in 123 countries – and an extensive network of partners from the private and public sectors – JA Worldwide mobilizes a global force of business volunteers to teach in-school and after-school programs that give students the tools they need today, to succeed tomorrow. These programs show young people how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs, which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action, and help strengthen their communities. For more information, please visit www.ja.org.

About INJAZ- Al Arab

INJAZ Al-Arab (INJAZ, meaning ‘Achievement’ in Arabic) is an organization that works with young people in the Middle East and North Africa region providing them with entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work-readiness skills through experiential programs. INJAZ is a regional branch of JA Worldwide®, the world’s largest organization dedicated to engaging youth in the world economy.

INJAZ started in 1999 in Amman, Jordan and is presently operating in 13 countries across the Middle East and North Africa region (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco). INJAZ programs offer students an unbroken chain of educational opportunities that strengthen their innovation, deepen their understanding of the business world, and give them professional qualifications to enable their success in the global economy.

INJAZ programs help students gain insight into the complexities and rewards of entrepreneurship and business in today’s interdependent market economy. Successful local business leaders serve as classroom mentors to make the economic concepts relevant, fuel entrepreneurism, and challenge students to excel. Volunteers visit during school hours, normally once a week, for 8 to 15 weeks depending upon the program and grade level.  Working with the classroom teacher, these community volunteers bring the business world to life and lead students through the conceptualization and launch of their businesses.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA) is a global payments and technology company.  It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Learn more at www.mastercard.com, follow us on Twitter @mastercardnews or join the conversation on The Heart of Commerce Blog.

###

Contacts:

Heba Hassan; GolinHarris – Dubai; Tel:  +971 4 3323308;Email: hhassan@golinharris.com