During the Mobile World Congress on March 1 2017 in Barcelona Spain, MasterCard, a leading global payments and technology company that connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses around the world; and Unilever, a UK-based supplier of consumer goods, announced a strategic partnership that will see the two companies work together on various initiatives focused on empowering micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in emerging markets.
In their announcement, MasterCard and Unilever referred to the World Bank statistics about the existence of a range of 365 to 445 million MSMEs in the developing world and whose ‘true economic potential’ is yet to be tapped.
The goal of the partnership is to reach 5.5 million low-income people in multiple countries by year 2020 and also through Unilever’s network of distributors in Kenya, spread the use of MasterCard’s digital payment platforms. These two companies through bringing together their expertise plans to unlock economic growth which will facilitate to sustainable development goals such as sustainable cities and communities and Poverty eradication. This project will enable sustainable growth of small retail entrepreneurs and enabling access of low-interest credit to small vendors.
“The project has already kicked off in Kenya and 250 stalls have been tested, 1100 stalls have been set up and our target is to put up tens of thousands,” said Daniel Monehin, Executive Vice President and Head of Financial Inclusion, MasterCard during the C-Suite Session at FT Africa Payments Innovation Summit. “The project is to help in the digitization of the value chain for Unilever, that is; trying to eliminate cash in the process of buying supplies and selling goods and hence increasing efficiency,” Daniel Monehin added.