MasterCard launches Center for Inclusive Growth to encourage financial inclusion

220px-MasterCard_Logo.svgMasterCard announced last week the launch of the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, a research and philanthropic investment center aimed at increasing financial inclusion around the world.

“MasterCard is launching the Center to provide a focus on delivering the research and philanthropic investments necessary to advance inclusive growth,” MasterCard Vice Chairman Walt Macnee said. “With more people from more countries participating in the global economy than even before, MasterCard believes that inclusive growth is key for economic and social progress.”

An academic advisory council has been established at the center and is comprised of senior fellows, including Fan Gang, Robert Lawrence, Guntram Wolff, Martyn Davies, Ricardo Hausmann and Suman Bery.

“The Center’s Senior Fellows bring independent perspectives on the global economy and globalization, and insights on the key issues and challenges in advancing inclusive growth and prosperity,” Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, a global economic adviser to MasterCard and the chairman of the academic advisory council, said. “Through the Center, we will be able to unlock these insights and publish the findings in an open-source environment as catalysts for action.”

The center’s investments will focus on efforts that empower women and youth, who comprise a significant percentage of individuals currently excluded from formal financial services. In Myanmar, the Kompanion Myanmar microfinance institution will provide services to small businesses; in Nigeria, the ASSETS program will further girls’ access to and ability to manage assets; and in the U.S., the Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Work/Live Project will increase employment and income opportunities for low-income families.

In coming months, the center will launch a website that allows the public and private sectors to interact with the company and learn more about its research goals.

“Today, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to define the future more evenly and more equitably, and in a way that’s more sustainable and prosperous,” Macnee said. “We look forward to continuing a dialogue with all interested stakeholders through the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.”

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