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While Indian commerce is rapidly innovating, the digital gender divide remains a problem: Women are far less likely to have access to mobile phones or the internet. Enter Project Kirana, a business development and digital literacy program aimed at India’s growing group of female kirana (convenience store) owners. The program is a partnership between Mastercard, the US Agency for International Development, and Indian NGO Access Development Services. It helps provide business owners with the digital literacy and tools they need to give customers more choice and boost sales.

The Mastercard Artist Accelerator harnesses the power of art and tech by giving emerging artists the tools to record and collaborate in Web3 and build a community of fans. The first two artists joined the program Friday: Latin neo-soul singer Manu Manzo, based in Miami, and London R&B/soul singer Young Athena, and Manzo performed and appeared on panels at SXSW. Through a limited-edition Mastercard Music Pass NFT minted on Polygon, fans will be able to access exclusive content and learn how to use Web3 tools alongside them.

While the gender gap in banking access may be narrowing, about 740 million women remain left out. We can do better, and women-owned businesses are a good place to start. With new digital tools, millions of women entrepreneurs are building resilience and growing businesses that are integral to supporting their families and driving local economies. The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth's partnership with Accion demonstrates the power of digital financial inclusion.

We congratulate Mike Froman, who will serve as president of the Council on Foreign Relations. The appointment is a testament to his distinguished career spanning over three decades across the highest levels of the government and the private sector. Over the last five years as Mastercard’s vice chair and president for Strategic Growth, Mike has played an instrumental role overseeing our corporate strategy, growing strategic partnerships, scaling new business opportunities, and advancing our efforts to partner with governments and other institutions to address major societal and economic issues.

Mastercard is adding advanced analytics to its Open Banking platform, which is delivered by its subsidiary, Finicity, in the US. According to Mastercard’s Rise of Open Banking Small Business Report, 85% of small business owners are looking for more choices that deliver faster and easier access to capital. These analytics can help lenders manage their risk profiles while also adding diverse and inclusive credit models for small business loans as well as ongoing monitoring and expansion of credit card lines.

“It’s important to realize your power and your voice,” Misa Hylton said Thursday alongside Lil’ Kim on a panel about entrepreneurship and collaboration in Los Angeles. “You can demand what you want, and you can bring your sisters with you.”

Hylton and Lil’ Kim were part of a series of panel discussions organized by Mastercard and Femme It Forward, the female-led music and entertainment company, during Grammys week honoring hip-hop’s 50th anniversary and celebrating Black women’s entrepreneurship.

Focusing our lens on 2023, one image becomes clear: The global economy will move at multi-speeds, with some countries, companies, and individuals more exposed to headwinds from high inflation and interest rates than others. The Mastercard Economics Institute’s annual “Economic Outlook 2023” draws on a multitude of public and proprietary data sets, including aggregated and anonymized Mastercard switched volumes, as well as models intended to estimate economic activity. The report forecasts four themes that will continue to shape the global economic environment this year — high interest rates and housing, trading down and shopping around, prices and preferences, and shocks and omnichannel.

As decision-makers gathered at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, many struck hopeful notes about the state of the economy, the power of data to combat inequity, and the potential for collaboration to solve global challenges. Leaders debated topics such as deglobalization, decarbonization, distrust, and digitization. Here are Mastercard’s four takeaways from Davos.