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Mastercard and African Development Bank join forces to bring digital access to 100 million people in Africa, fostering inclusive growth and innovation. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Mastercard and the African Development Bank Group unveiled the MADE Alliance: Africa, aiming to bring digital access to essential services to 100 million individuals and businesses across Africa within the next decade

The announcement was made during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, organised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Initially, the Alliance will prioritise assistance to the agricultural sector and women. Its inaugural initiative, slated to commence this year, involves a pilot program in Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria, aimed at supporting three million farmers. This initiative will collaborate with local banks to furnish digital identities and facilitate access to high-quality seeds and agricultural resources. The Alliance's future plans encompass expansion to Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, and beyond, covering the entirety of the continent.

“Mastercard's work leading the new MADE Alliance: Africa aims to provide 100 million people greater digital access to critical services,” said Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard. “Across Africa, people are driving new growth and opportunity, and Mastercard wants to support their success. This Alliance builds on the innovations and investments we are already making with partners in 45 countries to enhance Africa’s digital infrastructure and accelerate inclusive growth.” 

In their capacity as co-chairs, the African Development Bank Group commits to investing US$300mn to bolster Alliance initiatives. This investment will be directed towards enhancing digital infrastructure and incentivising various stakeholders within the ecosystem to promote digital access. Concurrently, Mastercard pledges to onboard 15 million users in Africa onto its Community Pass platform within five years. This platform, initiated in 2020 as a social enterprise at Mastercard, serves to digitise and interconnect remote and underserved communities with governments, NGOs, and the private sector, granting them access to essential services. The Alliance aims to establish interoperable digital infrastructure, encouraging participation from a diverse array of ecosystem actors.

To enable more people to join the digital economy, an ecosystem of public and private sector partners is critical. The Alliance matches partners’ complementary strengths in key geographies to promote sustainable digital access. Together, the partners will deliver connectivity, skilling, employment and digital access to financial and other critical services.

More than half a dozen organisations have committed to participate in the MADE Alliance: Africa at launch, including Equity Bank, Microsoft, Heifer International, and Syngenta Foundation. The African Development Bank Group and Mastercard will serve as initial co-chairs of the effort.

The efforts of the MADE Alliance: Africa will support the U.S. Digital Transformation with Africa Initiative (DTA) and the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (DTS). It also ties into other business objectives announced this year focused on Africa, including:

A memorandum of agreement with the International Trade Administration, a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce, to advance digital access and inclusion in Africa based on a mutual interest to support the aims of the U.S. Government’s Digital Transformation with Africa initiative and MADE Alliance: Africa. This collaboration builds on Mastercard hosting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo during AmCham in Nairobi in April for a “Digital Showcase” on best practices and lessons learned for building and scaling digital solutions across the continent of Africa.

EdTech Africa, a new partnership between the Government of Kenya, Kenyan President Ruto and the U.S., which builds on Mastercard’s existing multi-million-dollar investments with the Atlanta University Consortium (AUC) Data Science Initiative and Howard University’s Center for Applied Data Science & Analytics Initiative. This effort cultivates educational exchanges between Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and African scholars in the ever-evolving landscape of emerging technology and is an example of innovation, talent empowerment and cross-cultural connectivity across the African diaspora, poised to drive forward education and technology for young leaders of Africa and America.

A new partnership involving Mastercard Community Pass, the Co-operative Bank of Kenya, the Shell Foundation, and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office that gives smallholder farmers access to a digital marketplace and enables affordable credit to buy clean energy tools that support farmers' incomes, such as solar-powered irrigation pumps. First announced in January, the effort aligns to Mastercard’s involvement with two USAID initiatives: the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) and the Women in the Digital Economy Fund (WiDEF).

Bringing together public and private sector leaders will create and enhance accessible, affordable and trusted technology and digital tools that are scalable, enabling more people to join the digital economy.




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