World Economic Forum highlights importance of entrepreneurs to Africa’s development

Tweet:<<#MasterCard @CNTR4growth commits up to $1 m to help Rwanda achieve #FinancialInclusion goals #Af16>>

Kigali, Rwanda: May 13th, 2016 –The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growthcommits up to $1 million over the next three years to advance economic growth and financial inclusion in Rwanda. This was announced today by Raghu Malhotra President, Middle East and Africa for MasterCard at the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF) in Kigali.

“The Rwandan story is one of triumph over adversity, and the country stands as an example on how embracing technology and striving for a financially inclusive society can overcome the challenges of poverty. MasterCard is committed to helping develop a Cashless Rwanda, and the establishment of the grant is further testament to the importance we place in our collaboration with the Rwandan government.” said Malhotra.

Rwanda has made important strides when it comes to financial inclusion. According to the World Bank only 16 percent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have bank accounts. In Rwanda, however, 42 percent of adults own a financial account, whether formal or informal, and 1.6 million people have opened accounts in the country’s national SACCO savings and loan program.

Raghu pointed out that in Rwanda, small businesses comprise 97.8 percent of the private sector and account for 36 percent of private sector employment. Emphasising how important it is for the private sector to get involved to offer assistance and expertise.

The funds will be used to deliver a holistic mix of tools and resources, providing an opportunity to connect micro-entrepreneurs in Rwanda to the formal economy, thus helping them to expand their business.

“Igniting broad-based economic growth presents one of the most complex and urgent challenges of our time. We are in a unique position to help provide business owners in Rwanda with access to useful market insights, expertise, technology and a global network of likeminded individuals,” says Shamina Singh, Executive Director, MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.

“Partnering with MasterCard to drive growth in our business sector is another important step in empowering our citizens,” says Francis Gatare CEO of the Rwanda Development Board. “This intention will go a long way in helping us reach our goal of creating full financial inclusion and a cashless economy in Rwanda.”


About the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth

The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth is focused on the long term equitable economic growth of countries and communities.  By combining MasterCard resources – including data, expertise, technology and philanthropic investments – we seek to advance financial inclusion and connect leaders on the front lines of inclusive growth. Follow us on Twitter @CNTR4growth and subscribe for the latest news and perspectives from our site.


About MasterCard

MasterCard (NSYE: MA), is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate 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. Follow us on Twitter: @MasterCardMEA and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the MEA Engagement Bureau.


MasterCard Corporate Communications for Africa:

Geraldine Trennery – +27 76 301 0264