The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with MasterCard to open a lab for financial inclusions in Nairobi, Kenya to develop practical and cost-effective financial tools for low income individuals and households; it estimates the Labs could impact 100 million people.
With the three-year grant, the lab will generate new ideas with local entrepreneurs, governments and other stakeholders across East Africa, and rapidly move from concept to reality. “Too many people lack access to the most basic financial services, leaving them trapped in a cash economy that imposes greater risks and costs on those least able to afford them,” said Ajay Banga, president and CEO at MasterCard. With no financial accounts they can struggle to pay school fees or necessary health treatment. “ “Through the investment made by the Gates Foundation, coupled with our strong innovation processes, MasterCard will create and scale financial services that open up a world of inclusion and help people build better, brighter futures,”. “We are bringing our tried and tested innovation methodologies,” explained Garry Lyons, chief innovation officer and head of MasterCard Labs for MasterCard Worldwide.