Project will broaden financial service delivery channels, strengthen staff capacity, scale up savings, and measure social performance. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (31 July 2013) – The MasterCard Foundation and FINCA International today announced a $12.7 million partnership that will allow the region’s financially underserved people to more easily access savings products and services through the development and deployment of new technologies. By making access to savings accounts and services more readily available, it is anticipated that the number of people creating their own financial safety nets will increase dramatically in coming years. The partnership also supports expansion of FINCA’s innovative social performance management system, focused on ensuring that FINCA’s operations, products and services are both responsive to client needs and reach the clients who can receive the most benefit.
According to FINCA President and CEO Rupert Scofield, FINCA’s business model has reached a stage to radically expand its footprint and product offerings in the Sub-Saharan Africa, with the goal of bringing a wide range of financial services to over 500,000 previously excluded savers and nearly 300,000 borrowers in Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia by 2017. The partnership allows FINCA to capitalize on technological advancements in the delivery of financial services, to making the services more widely accessible at anticipated lower costs, and with greater safety.
“The advent of new technologies has the potential to transform how millions of women and men on the continent gain access to financial services, especially when it comes to savings mobilization,” Mr. Scofield said. “FINCA’s more than 20 years providing financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa, coupled with The MasterCard Foundation partnership, will allow us to catalyze the expertise and investments we’ve amassed to create even greater value for the unbanked people in the region.”
“This is an innovative project that will help us understand the impact technology has in bringing responsible, cost-effective financial products to people in rural communities,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “We share with FINCA a commitment to rigorously documenting the impact financial services have on the lives of people who live in poverty.”
FINCA and The MasterCard Foundation share the same values and belief that people have the potential to transform their lives if given the opportunity. By increasing access to high quality microfinance services in Sub-Saharan Africa, FINCA and The MasterCard Foundation will enable low-income individuals and households to realize their potential, and improve the lives of their families, and their communities.
Consistent with FINCA’s mission, this initiative will target low-income and unbanked individuals in Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia with a focus on women. On a consolidated basis, currently 47% of FINCA clients in the region live on less than $2.50 per day, and 60% are women.
FINCA will build upon its current regional pilot programs and industry best practice to develop and roll out new product delivery channels, including point of sale devices, light branches and kiosks, agent networks, and mobile services in rural and underserved communities in the three countries. FINCA will train its middle management and front-line staff to support the roll-out of its new delivery channels and products. The program will also support the continuing development, integration, and analysis of social performance metrics into every aspect of FINCA’s operations. The use of these metrics will ensure FINCA is providing clients the products and services they need, reaching its target audiences, and more effectively tracking and understanding the impact of financial inclusion on the well-being of clients.
FINCA Africa currently provides financial services to more than 295,000 borrowers and nearly 417,000 savers living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
About FINCA International
FINCA is a leading international micro-finance organization that provides financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs, helping them create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. For more than 25 years, FINCA has been committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by providing community-based credit and savings opportunities, as well as other financial services including insurance, money transfers and payment services. Currently, FINCA operates with a distinctive, integrated business model that accepts donations and investment dollars, an approach that leverages available capital and promotes greater transparency, sustainability and higher standards of business practices. This has allowed FINCA to achieve balanced financial and social performance unmatched in the industry – while opening the path to socio-economic development for the lowest-income citizens of the world. Based in Washington DC with local operations across 22 countries serving nearly 1 million borrowers, FINCA’s outreach is among the broadest and most comprehensive of today’s microfinance networks. For more information, please visit www.FINCA.org
About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $6 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 50 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is separate and independent from the company. Its policies, operations, and funding decisions are determined by its own Foundation Board of Directors and President and CEO. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.