Established in 2014, the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity is a US$50m Challenge Fund that has sought to stimulate the innovation and scaling of products and services by financial service providers, with an initial target of reaching one million financially excluded rural people. The Fund was set up to achieve the following three main objectives:

  1. improve livelihoods and income of smallholder farmers and build their capabilities to improve financial inclusion;
  2. enable financial service providers and agribusinesses to access financial products; and 
  3. promote systemic change by attracting other influential actors and innovations.

To date, the Fund has provided US$ 47.5 million grant funding to 38 participant organizations that are implementing projects across 15 Sub-Saharan African countries - Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The Fund has conducted various competitive rounds to identify participant organizations that met select criteria.  These rounds included Innovation, Scaling and Rolling competitions which resulted in the selection of the 38 participants. The Fund then launched other participant-targeted rounds which included a Strategic Investments round, COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience round as well as a Technical Assistance round.

The 38 innovative private-sector players comprise of various sectors including: asset finance; banking and microfinance institutions; insurance companies; fintech ventures; distributors of fast-moving consumer goods; agricultural input suppliers; and agro-produce aggregators and processors. They have been able to increase access to affordable credit, insurance solutions, digital payment transactions and savings accounts by rural and agricultural-centred communities across Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Our latest portfolio report to June 2022 recorded that the Fund has reached over 5.3 million customers exceeding our initial target by more than four-fold, with 41% being young men and women. Nearly 5,000 jobs have been created with 38% of these jobs being created for women and over 171 new financial products and services have been created with capacity building being provided to nearly 3 million people.

The seven and a half year journey of the Fund has been incredibly fulfilling and this can be seen through the results and the impact created. The Fund has been able to achieve its objectives and we are incredibly proud to have been part of this journey to deliver financial inclusion by walking with and supporting our participant organisations. Their accomplishments are a clear indication that financial inclusion is crucial, as ultimately, millions of lives are being transformed through their work. 

Beyond the Fund, several of our portfolio companies have made headlines across the continent as they continue to scale, attract additional investments and create a sustainable future for financial inclusion.  The Fund has been a stepping stone for these companies and we wish them continued success.   

smita.png Smita Sanghrajka, 


 KPMG East Africa