More than 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes by conflict and persecution. Their need for assistance is great, and a crisis of this scale requires more than state action. The private sector must also act with urgency to create an impact.
As world leaders convene in New York for the 71st United Nations General Assembly, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga will join other business executives and President Obama today at the Private Sector Roundtable as part of the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees to address this critical issue.
Mastercard was recently ranked seventh on the Fortune “Change the World” list, based on the company’s work to help transform humanitarian aid for refugees and other vulnerable populations. Additionally, the company was recognized by the White House as one of fifteen leading companies that have already taken significant action to assist the refugee crisis.
During the meeting, President Obama will ask the private sector to help empower refugees by providing them with the infrastructure, resources and tools they need to access education and skills, gain meaningful employment and become self-reliant.
As public and private sector leaders heed the call-to-action, Mastercard will announce new, measurable and significant commitments to further improve the plight of refugees and support the countries of resettlement. Specifically, Mastercard will pledge to:
- Expand its suite of humanitarian and development solutions to reach an additional 2 million aid recipients. Working with public and non-profit partners, the company has already empowered more than 2.5 million vulnerable people, the vast majority of them refugees and internally displaced. These programs have used the Mastercard Aid Network, humanitarian prepaid and remittance services for faster, safer and more efficient aid distribution.
- Advance the concept of “smart communities” for new refugee settlements and assist with the implementation of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Program in Kenya. Alongside the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Humanitarian Private Sector Partnership Platform in East Africa, Mastercard will mobilize private and public sector players to develop ways to better integrate refugees into local communities and help rebuild their lives.
- Advocate for better data protection policies and practices on the part of those collecting sensitive information on refugees. Mastercard has spent the last two years conducting workshops to educate aid agencies on the importance of information safety and security in the development and humanitarian context. Mastercard will continue to assist organizations in adopting best practices from the private sector to ensure they become better stewards of sensitive data.
- Convene public and private organizations to determine how aid recipients, most notably refugees, can more easily access vital financial services. Protracted refugee situations have become the norm. Mastercard strongly believes that financially included individuals fare better. Mastercard will bring together key stakeholders to determine how aid agencies and refugees can better use local market infrastructure to sustainably grow.