Why the Fund

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Why the Fund

Why does Mastercard Foundation For Rural Prosperity exist?

Sub-Saharan Africa is growing rapidly, but the pattern of growth has increased inequality, and growth has not led to substantial poverty reduction. Many rural areas in Africa remain extremely poor, with the smallholder farmers that make up the bulk of Africa's workforce largely excluded from the economic growth story. This poverty is reinforced by financial exclusion.

Rural people need financial services that allow them to alter their livelihood strategies, to develop better ways of managing wealth, earn an income and reduce the vulnerability of falling into poverty traps. They need products that are designed to address specific financial needs arising out of their livelihoods and demands upon their household finances.

For financial inclusion to truly have a transformative impact, rural people also need a better understanding of how they can put these financial products to effective use for their own benefit.

Over the past 15 years, challenge funds have become an established mechanism through which to encourage the private sector to deliver social outcomes (to shift commercial goals closer to social objectives). The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity is working with the private sector in Africa to reach at least 1,000,000 financially excluded people on the continent.

Using the challenge fund approach, the Fund has sourced the businesses to support and by doing so, aims to transform lives in Sub Saharan Africa.

The businesses were selected because of their focus on the development of ideas for new products, services or processes that increase access to finance for rural people; or on scaling their most promising ideas or pilots to drive financial inclusion for large numbers of smallholder farmers and rural people in new geographic areas.