Mastercard has expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion by pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.
Driven by the Covid-19 crisis, the strategy will include a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.
“If we’re going to recover in any sort of long-term, sustainable way, we have to make sure that everyone is included. Getting people access to the digital economy is a critical part of that,” says Ajay Banga, chief executive officer at Mastercard. “This is an opportunity to develop commercially-sustainable and scalable social impact with government and private sector partners - and to do it in a way that helps society-at-large thrive.”
The new commitment is an extension of Mastercard’s pledge in 2015 to bring 500 million excluded people into the financial system.
Reaching the one billion goal will require an broad push across a range of fronts, including ongoing work on government disbursements, 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 and tech that addresses needs of the financially vulnerable.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, World Economic Forum, comments: “Achieving greater financial inclusion for individuals and small businesses into the digital economy requires collaboration and unique partnerships across sectors and geographies. As companies like Mastercard extend their financial inclusion commitment, society must adapt to meet the evolving needs of everyone in the global marketplace.”