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Back You are here: Home Global News News U.S.A. IFC, MasterCard Foundation partner in Africa

IFC, MasterCard Foundation partner in Africa

The World Bank partner devoted to developing the private sector and The MasterCard Foundation will spend millions of dollars so more impoverished Africans can get loans and other financial services, officials said Monday.

At a Johannesburg news conference Monday, officials from the International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank group, and The MasterCard Foundation said they would spend $37.4 million over five years to support banks and other institutions across Africa that provide small loans, a strategy known as microfinancing. People around the world have used such loans to lift themselves out of poverty by starting or expanding small businesses, sending children to school or buying fertilizer for subsistence farms.

The MasterCard Foundation was established with funds from MasterCard Worldwide in 2006 and operates independently of the company.

The IFC-MasterCard Foundation project, the IFC's largest with a private foundation, also targets banks and communications companies that help mobile phone users send and receive money and get access to other banking services. Mobile phones have meant people in remote rural areas and urban slums, where banks have been reluctant to build branches, can still get banking services.

The IFC, which started investing in microfinance programs in Africa in 1997, estimates only between five and 25 percent of African households have bank accounts or other relationships with financial institutions.

Read More -- Business Week