Part of the US$50 Million “Fund for Rural Prosperity”, the competition promotes innovation in rural financial services to improve the lives of more than one million financially excluded people.

The MasterCard Foundation today launched the second of three yearly Innovation Competitions under its Fund for Rural Prosperity, an initiative which aims to improve the lives of more than one million smallholder farmers and people living in poverty in rural Africa. With a total of US$15 million, the Innovation Competitions support start-up businesses as they launch new, scalable financial services in   24 African countries.

“Last year, we were very impressed by the quantity, quality and originality of applications in the Fund for Rural Prosperity’s first Innovation Competition”, said Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation. “This year, we expect to see even more proposals coming forth focused on changing lives for the better by enabling people to be part of the formal financial sector in their countries.”

In 2015, the Fund’s Innovation Competition awarded nine financial service companies from Sub-Saharan Africa a total of US$6.9 million to move their ideas from conception to implementation. The 2016 competition will be open from February 1 to March 28, 2016. Applications will be accepted from 24 countries in Africa (See list of countries below).

The majority of rural households in Africa remain financially excluded. Over 70 percent of families in Sub-Saharan Africa derive a large portion of their income from agricultural activities. Many financial service providers lack the knowledge and capacity to develop appropriate products and services that would enable the rural poor and smallholder farmers to become financially included. The MasterCard Foundation aims to support projects that have the potential make a difference.

The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity is managed by KPMG International Development Advisory Services, Africa. The Fund has two categories of competitions:

·         Innovation: A total of US$15 million to support new products, services or processes that increase access to finance for the rural poor. US$6.9 million was awarded in the first Innovation Competition.

·         Scaling: A total of US$35 million to support scaling up the most promising ideas or pilots that have the potential to drive financial inclusion for smallholder farmers in new geographic areas. Companies receiving support in the first Scaling Competition will be announced in April, 2016.

More information, including application forms, guidance notes and details on eligible countries are on the website:


The 24 Innovation Competition countries of focus for The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity are: Burundi, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, DRC, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

The 8 Scaling Competition countries of focus for The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity are: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.


The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest, independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter please visit Follow the Foundation at @MCFoundation on Twitter.




KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We have more than 155,000 outstanding professionals working together to deliver value in 155 countries worldwide. KPMG’s International Development Advisory Services, Africa (“KPMG IDAS”), is an Africa-wide department hosted by the KPMG Kenya member firm and is a global Centre of Excellence for development work on the continent. We have adopted a pan-African approach to development, employing full-time development experts complemented by a network of specialized consultants across Africa. KPMG IDAS is currently implementing some of the largest, most exciting and innovative development programmes in Africa for a variety of public and private sector clients. For more information, please visit:

 For more information, please contact:

Jemima Gathumi-Mungoma
Operations Manager

The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity

+254 (0)709576382

Roger Morier

Senior Manager, Communications

The MasterCard Foundation