Master Card, Mercy Corps partner
Published On October 4, 2015 » 1535 Views» By Administrator Times » Business, Stories
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By JUDITH NAMUTOWE –

THE Master Card Foundation has launched a new US$25 million partnership with Mercy Corps.
The project, which was launched at the just-ended African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Lusaka, will benefit more than one million smallholder farmers in Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania.
Alliance Programmes director at Mercy Corps, one of the leading humanitarian agencies Leesa Scrader, said Mercy Corps’ Agrifin Accelerated Programme had broken new ground by developing and delivering bundles of dignitary-enabled financial and information services.
“We are collaborating with Master Card Foundation to put smallholder farmers at the centre of product design and innovation, aligning with the interests and capacities of the buyers, aggregators, technology platforms and financial service providers as partners in our technical engagement model,” Ms Scrader said.
The Foundation has also announced that it is supporting a joint consortium of the Global Development Incubator and Dalberg Associates in the creation of a Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab.
The $6.5 million project will deepen understanding of the financial service needs of smallholder farmers and rural poor families, while also sharing best practices in responding to those needs.
Jason Wendle, director of the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab, said given the resources, effort and innovation directed at providing more and better financial solutions for smallholders and other rural clients, it was critical to understand what works and how it affected clients.
“We are excited about the chance to identify lessons and coordinate learning from the Fund for Rural Prosperity and the Foundation’s other investments in rural and agricultural finance, and to lead conversations that enable the broader community of providers to more effectively meet client needs,” Mr Wendle said.
The Master Card Foundation’s support for agriculture and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa totals more than $300 million.
An estimated 5.3 million people were expected to benefit from the programmes and that because most poor people in Africa live in rural areas, with huge unmet opportunities to increase farm productivity and improve livelihoods, expanding and deepening access to financial services is one of the Foundation’s programmatic priorities.

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