Mastercard & Bill Gates in race to create cashless African economy

Why is the world’s largest foundation teaming up with one of the world’s largest credit card companies to help build financial services for the poor? After all, here in the United States we don’t typically think of MasterCard or Visa as being the best buddies of poor people. 

But there’s a strong logic to the three-year, $11 million give to MasterCard by the Gates Foundation.  

As we’ve  written in the past , MasterCard is deeply involved in efforts to connect Africans to the modern financial services that people in the developed world take for granted. Since 2009, the MasterCard Foundation has invested nearly $40 million in a partnership with Opportunity International to provide financial access to several million people living in rural parts of Tanzania, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, and Rwanda. 

Of course, that goal syncs up nicely with MasterCard’s goal of profiting from Africa’s economic rise, with one estimate saying that African consumers will spend $1.2 trillion by 2020. Better to have them whip out a MasterCard for such purchases, rather than a pouch of bills from under the mattress. 

For its part, Gates has a whole program focused on  financial services for the poor  and sees this work as crucial not just for […]

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