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Mastercard Foundation Opens Applications For $126m SME funding For Sub-Saharan Africa

This seven-year initiative, with a budget of US$126 million, aims to invigorate enterprises operating in the agriculture, climate adaptation, and digital economy sectors across 20 countries in the region.

In a bid to bolster Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Mastercard Foundation has announced a call for business owners to apply for its Resilience and Prosperity Fund.

This seven-year initiative, with a budget of US$126 million, aims to invigorate enterprises operating in the agriculture, climate adaptation, and digital economy sectors across 20 countries in the region.

The Resilience and Prosperity Fund marks the second phase of the Mastercard Foundation’s commitment to fostering economic growth in Africa. Preceded by the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity, which launched in 2014, this new initiative builds upon the successes of its predecessor.

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The Fund for Rural Prosperity supported 38 participants from 15 African countries, facilitating access to financial products and services for over 5.3 million people, exceeding its initial target of 1 million.

Central to the objectives of the Resilience and Prosperity Fund is the promotion of enterprise growth and the creation of sustainable employment opportunities for young women and men, individuals with disabilities, and refugee youth. Through strategic interventions, the Fund aims to catalyze the expansion and sustainability of SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The interventions of the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity are multifaceted, targeting both specific challenges faced by SMEs and broader macroeconomic issues. These interventions include:

1. Challenge Fund: Direct financial support is offered to SMEs through a challenge fund, aimed at overcoming barriers to scaling up operations and fostering the creation of employment opportunities.

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2. Connect Fund: This initiative focuses on providing SMEs with investor readiness support and facilitating partnerships with potential financiers to ensure long-term sustainability and growth.

3. Technical Assistance (TA): SMEs receive technical assistance and capacity-building support to address challenges related to human capital and market access.

4. Convening and Influencing: The Foundation convenes relevant stakeholders to promote an enabling business environment through digital platforms and experienced partners, driving systemic change to address barriers hindering youth employment.

“By concentrating efforts on these sectors, the Mastercard Foundation aims to maximize the impact of its interventions and contribute to sustainable economic development across Sub-Saharan Africa,” it said in a post.

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