Mastercard Foundation’s $126M Initiative for African SMEs and Youth Employment

Mastercard Foundation launches fund to empower SMEs, create jobs for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In a significant stride toward promoting economic growth and job creation in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Mastercard Foundation has unveiled the Fund for Resilience and Prosperity, with a dedicated fund of US$ 126 million. Established in 2023, this initiative is designed to nurture Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across 20 countries, focusing on three pivotal sectors.

The Fund’s mission is to spur the growth of enterprises and to catalyze the scaling and sustainability of employment opportunities for young women and men. By embracing innovative and scalable business models, the initiative aims to support entities capable of generating substantial and sustainable impacts, particularly in job creation.

Addressing the critical challenge of securing dignified and fulfilling employment for young Africans, the Foundation recognizes the urgent need for large-scale job creation. With urbanization on the rise, and unemployment rates climbing alongside it, the Fund seeks to offer a robust response, especially in light of escalating urban and rural unemployment.

Managed by KPMG Development Services Limited, with Triple Line Consulting overseeing monitoring, evaluation, and learning, the initiative builds on the success of the previous Fund for Rural Prosperity. This earlier phase, initiated in 2014, notably exceeded its objectives by enabling over 5.3 million people to access financial products and services, with a significant emphasis on agricultural sectors.

The Resilience and Prosperity Fund aims to extend beyond financial inclusion, focusing on the creation of fulfilling and dignified work for youth, including women, refugee youth, and youth living with disabilities. It places a strong emphasis on young women, aiming to position them at the core of its impact strategy.

This bold move by the Mastercard Foundation sets a new precedent in efforts to combat unemployment and foster economic resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa, promising a brighter future for its young population.

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