Bridging the financial inclusion gap in Africa through the MasterCard Fund for Rural Prosperity
Over the last decade or so, many African economies have grown but the pattern of growth has been unequal. This is particularly true for people who make their living from agriculture, either directly or indirectly. They make up 2/3 of Africa’s workforce, and largely live in poor rural areas. There are many challenges that prevent financial services providers and agribusinesses from offering products and services to the rural poor. The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity is a $50 million, seven-year commitment by the Mastercard Foundation to extend financial services to people living in rural sub-Sahara Africa, with a focus on smallholder farmers.
This challenge fund accepts applications for innovative financial solutions that expand and deepen financial inclusion for poor people in rural areas of Africa. The Fund also finances select solutions that have been implemented successfully and are ready for scaling to new markets, a new geographic area, or for a new use. Currently, the 2017/2018 competitions are open to receive applications for financial support. Unlike previous 2015 and 2016 competitions, the current competition follows a ‘rolling’ format, open throughout the year with applications submitted and evaluated periodically.
Since it was launched in 2015, the Fund has held four competitions. A total of 21 projects across Sub-Saharan Africa have received financial support thus far.
KPMG's IDAS practice, in consortium with Nathan Associates London Ltd and IPE Triple Line, has provided the full range of fund management services to the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity including design, competition management, grantee contracting, financial and programme management oversight, monitoring, and evaluation. Working with KPMG, the Fund aims to reach one million financially excluded people in rural and agricultural areas in sub-Saharan Africa.
From the onset, the Fund was set-up to run three rounds of each competition in order to provide support to the best innovation and the best scaling proposals. However, for the third round of competition, the ‘call for proposal’ was modified to a ‘rolling’ format so that applications could be submitted and evaluated periodically throughout the year. In this new mode of application, even unsuccessful applicants would be able to refine and resubmit their applications subsequently, along with new entrants in the competition. KPMG's IDAS practice in consortium with Triple Line, has so far provided the full range of fund management services to the Fund for Rural Prosperity including design, competition management, grantee contracting, financial and programme management oversight, monitoring and evaluation. Working with KPMG, the foundation’s programme aims to reach 1 million financially excluded people in rural and agricultural areas in sub-Saharan Africa.
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