09:22 | 28/05/2020 Companies
(VEN) - Mastercard has expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion by pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.
The impact of Covid-19 has made it even more pressing to support inclusive growth in Asia Pacific, which is home to 60 percent of the world’s population and the fastest-growing economic region. In an update in April, the World Bank said 24 million fewer people will escape poverty across the East Asia Pacific region this year than would have without the pandemic.
“If we’re going to recover in any sort of long-term, sustainable way, we have to make sure that everyone is included. Getting people access to the digital economy is a critical part of that. This is so much more than philanthropy. This is an opportunity to develop commercially-sustainable and scalable social impact with government and private sector partners, and to do it in a way that helps society-at-large thrive”, said Ajay Banga, Chief Executive Officer at Mastercard.
“Even before the pandemic, the Vietnamese government prioritized building a digital economy that is accessible to all. Covid-19 has revealed that the true value of a digital economy is that it allows for market and businesses to quickly respond, withstand shocks, and be agile enough to adapt to adverse situations. Vietnam is the first country in Southeast Asia to successfully restart and embark on the road to recovery. To accelerate the recovery journey, it is necessary for global companies like Mastercard to leverage their knowledge, technology, and expertise by working closely with the public sector to create initiatives that bring all players, including SMEs, a powerful force multiplier which accounts for more than 97.5% of all local businesses, into the digital economy and create sustainable businesses”, said Winnie Wong, Country Manager of Mastercard in Vietnam.
The new commitment - an extension of Mastercard’s pledge in 2015 to bring 500 million excluded people into the financial system - builds on the company’s efforts to address the pandemic-related health and economic challenges facing people all over the world. Over the past five years, Mastercard achieved its initial goal of including 500 million people in the digital economy through more than 350 innovative programs across 80 countries.
In Vietnam, Mastercard is working with CARE International to assist banks and fintechs to tailor financial services and products to bring women into the financial system and catalyze business growth among women entrepreneurs. The goal is to reach more than 1 million Vietnamese women.
Reaching the 1 billion goal for financial inclusion will require a broad range of efforts, including ongoing work on government disbursement solutions, wage digitization of private sector workers, partnerships with mobile network operators, solutions for gig workers, scaling efforts with fintechs, digital platforms and digital wallets/apps and solutions addressing needs of the financially vulnerable.