• Extends effort beyond 500 million financially included over the past five years

  • Maximizes technology, partnerships to deliver aid, insights and access to businesses and communities

  • Programs in Egypt include wage digitization and business skills for women entrepreneurs 

Cairo, Egypt. May 18, 2020 – The health and economic consequences of COVID-19 have highlighted the critical need to support vulnerable populations, many of whom are disproportionately impacted. In this time of global crisis, Mastercard has expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.

The extended commitment builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 related health and economic challenges facing individuals all over the world, including in Egypt.

“To realize long-term, sustainable economic recovery across Egypt, we know that financial inclusion is crucial. We must strive to provide access to the digital economy for everyone in the country, as that will generate opportunities for small businesses and help communities to thrive. Through our technology, our partnerships with the private sector, and our ongoing collaboration with the Egyptian government, we look forward to continue building a future with innovative solutions that are both commercially viable and socially impactful,” said Magdy Hassan, Mastercard’s General Manager for Egypt and Pakistan. 

At the 2015 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, Mastercard committed to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the financial system.  It achieved that goal through more than 350 innovative programs across 80 countries.

As a pilot in Egypt, Mastercard and Levi Straus & Co. united to digitize the wages of over 10,000 garment factory workers in Port Said – joining efforts to drive financial inclusion and economic security. Mastercard has also partnered with INJAZ Egypt to provide Egyptian women entrepreneurs with the opportunity to develop their business skills and obtain seed funding.

Additionally, Mastercard has worked closely with the Egyptian Government on several ambitious programs to drive financial inclusion and promote access to digital payments. The company cooperated with the Central Bank of Egypt to establish the first ever mobile payment ecosystem that currently benefits almost 14 million smart wallet users. Cooperation with the Ministry of Finance resulted in the launch of salary cards for six million government employees, who can use their payroll cards to make fast, safe, convenient electronic transactions. The Ministry of Social Solidarity has digitally disbursed social benefits to 60,000 women in Egypt following collaboration with Mastercard.

Reaching the one billion goal will require a broad range of efforts, including ongoing work on government disbursement solutions, wage digitization of private sector workers, partnerships with mobile network operators, solutions for gig workers, scaling efforts with fintechs, digital platforms and digital wallets/apps, solutions addressing needs of the financially vulnerable and the expansion of CityKey and Community Pass programs.

This announcement builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to support an inclusive recovery by leveraging the company’s technology, capabilities and reach. That work includes:

  • In the first weeks of the global health crisis, Mastercard committed up to $25 million in seed funding to establish the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and others to help speed up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by discovering, developing and scaling-up treatments for deployment around the world.
  • Mastercard has committed $250 million in financial, technology, product and services support over the next five years to small businesses in many markets where it operates, supporting the vitality of businesses and the financial security of their workers.
  • Mastercard is leveraging its network to provide support to governments around the world in a range of areas. This includes providing data insights to inform policymakers about the economic impact of the pandemic; increasing the speed and efficacy of aid disbursements to communities and business segments that need it most; developing donation platforms to enable emergency fundraising; and working with governments to assist business owners and consumers with cyber vulnerability assessments.