MasterCard Foundation to invest in Ugandan companies

Uganda is among eight countries set to receive USD50m (Sh177b) by the Master Card Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity to fund innovations aimed at improving access to finance in rural populations in sub Saharan Africa.
In a breakfast workshop attended by bankers in Kampala on Wednesday, Gabriel Kivuti a Specialist in access to finance for the Fund for Rural Prosperity Programme said the Fund will improve the lives of one million smallholder farmers and other people living in poverty in rural Africa by encouraging the ingenuity of African businesses in or related to the financial sector.

“The fund will support innovative ideas that have the potential to grow to scale and also have a deep social impact on the lives of rural people living in poverty throughout Sub-Saharan Africa,” Kivuti said.

The Master Card Foundation (MCF) is an independent global organisation that creates opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa.

The Fund according to Kivuti is set to operate under two broad categories including innovation (USD15M) which will support the development of ideas for new products, services or processes that increase access to finance for the rural poor.

The other category is scaling (USD35 m) set to help scale the most promising ideas or pilots that have the potential to drive financial inclusion for smallholder farmers in new geographic areas.

Other countries benefiting from the fund include Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia.

In the first category, 20 companies including those from Uganda have been shortlisted and await the grant. Kivuti explained that each grantee will be eligible for a minimum of USD750m to a maximum of USD2.5m