Financial inclusion in all countries across Africa has been long overdue. Less than one a***t out of four in the continent do not have bank accounts and this has ripped them off the benefits that account holders from formal financial institutions enjoy.

African Development Bank (AfDB) and MasterCard have, however, launched a partnership aimed at expanding financial inclusion across the continent and enable more people to open accounts with the ever mushrooming financial institutions in the regions. The collaboration, aimed at developing solutions that drive inclusive growth in Africa by broadening access and usage of digital financial services, will bank on MasterCard’s expertise in developing tailor-made financial services inclusions.

AfDB on the other hand will borrow from its relationships with the Africa governments and local private sector to develop and deliver affordable services that meet the needs of a wide consumer base, especially the traditionally unbanked. “While many of our industry partners have been active in this space, we believe that through our payments expertise, and the AfDB’s 50 years of experience in financing Africa’s economic transformation, we can achieve scaled impact and lasting transformation. This can only be accomplished when the public and private sectors combine resources and act together,”said President and CEO at MasterCard Ajay Banga.

The partnership will seek to build cohesive African financial systems that drive inclusion at a country level and enable service delivery to traditionally excluded populations and Invest in a curated set of innovative financial services companies and solutions targeted at addressing barriers that hinder financial inclusion. Besides, the two partners will share knowledge across academic, policy and commercial sectors to create thought leadership on financial inclusion and economic development.

“Despite the phenomenal economic growth in Africa, this has not translated into shared prosperity and better livelihoods for the majority. Growth has to be inclusive to be socially and politically sustainable. One key component of inclusive development is financial inclusion, an area in which Africa has been lagging behind other continents,” noted Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of the AfDB.

“Broadening access to financial services will mobilize greater household savings, marshal capital for investment, expand the class of entrepreneurs, and enable more people to invest in themselves and their families.”

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