DAVOS – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has honoured Ajay Banga, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mastercard, in recognition of outstanding contributions towards achieving Zero Hunger.
The 2017 Hunger Hero Award was presented to him by WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin on Tuesday at WFP’s annual dinner at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
In the past five years, Mastercard and WFP have collaborated on an ambitious mission: ending hunger. As technology has the power to unlock innovation in food assistance delivery, the partnership has brought new ideas to WFP operations while raising key funds.
“Under Ajay’s incredible leadership, Mastercard stands side by side with WFP and the people we serve, giving us access to their latest technology, vast network and generous staff to help us in our fight to achieve Zero Hunger,” said Cousin.
“This is just the beginning; together we will keep innovating new global solutions to make sure that even those furthest behind have access to a diverse, nutrition-rich range of foods.”
Since the start of the crisis in Syria, 2.2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan have used Mastercard-branded pre-paid cards to purchase food in local stores, empowering them to make the best food choices for their families while their spending strengthens local economies. Making giving part of everyday life, Mastercard and its bank and retail partners have raised funds to provide over 17 million school meals to children around the world.
“This award recognises the efforts of everyone at Mastercard and is representative of a new type of thinking that is transforming how the private sector can participate in humanitarian efforts,” Banga said. “At Mastercard we believe those efforts begin with the belief that business can be a force for good in the world and that when the public and private sector partner we can be transformative, doing great things that make a meaningful difference.”
Mastercard employees have been central to the partnership, with 18 staff members accepting temporary assignments in WFP country offices during 2016. Their analytical expertise helped produce research that has shown that every dollar invested in school meals brings an economic return of US$6 in the form of improved health and education for schoolchildren.
Fortune recently ranked Mastercard on its “Change the World” list, based on Mastercard’s work to help transform humanitarian aid for refugees and other vulnerable people. Mastercard has committed to reaching 500 million people previously excluded from financial services by 2020.
The award ceremony took place at the Global Goals Dinner for a Healthy Not Hungry World at the WFP tent in Davos.
Read more about WFP’s activities at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at: www.wfp.org/davos and follow Mastercard’s activities on Twitter: @MastercardNews and Instagram: @mastercardnews