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The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and have launched the Artificial Intelligence to Accelerate Inclusion Challenge, a global call for AI solutions to accelerate inclusion and economic empowerment. The AI2AI Challenge will focus on inclusive growth, ensuring that the benefits of this rapidly advancing data technology extend to all segments of society. Awardees will receive grant funding to develop and scale their solutions, gain access to technical expertise and mentorship from Mastercard and teams, and have opportunities with select Mastercard’s resources and programs to further support their approaches.

To enable more people to join the digital economy, an ecosystem of public and private sector partners is critical. That’s why Mastercard and the African Development Bank Group have launched the Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy (MADE) Alliance: Africa to extend digital access to critical services to 100 million individuals and businesses in Africa over the next 10 years, with an initial focus on supporting the agricultural sector and women. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the US-Africa Business Forum hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce.

Public transportation systems act like arteries carrying people from home to work, hospitals, schools, banks, and grocery stores. But not all communities have access to public transportation, leaving residents reliant on private vehicles or struggling to find transit. The lack of access to public transit deepens socioeconomic divides, limits access to environmentally sustainable transportation, and cuts off connection to essential services. Read Mastercard’s latest research on the impact areas with limited availability of public transportation have, and how to combat them.

By bringing more people into the digital economy, fintech solutions can connect vulnerable users to services such as loan forgiveness, microinsurance, or savings opportunities to cushion the effects of climate shocks. To magnify these efforts, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth joined the Climate Innovation for Adaptation and Resilience Alliance, a cross-sector coalition dedicated to accelerating and scaling innovation in digital finance for low-income people affected by climate change. Both organizations want to train the wider financial inclusion community to approach their work with environmental sustainability in mind.

The Priceless Planet Coalition, created by Mastercard in partnership with Conservation International and the World Resources Institute, aims to fund the restoration of 100 million trees worldwide. One of the restoration sites includes a hilltop in the mountains of eastern Kentucky that was felled by loggers and surface-mined for coal. Green Forests Work, a nonprofit working to restore forests across Appalachia, is partnering with landowners, local communities, and the Priceless Planet Coalition to repair the damage. These restoration projects offer an opportunity to generate new businesses and help residents find their economic footing after mining operations have moved out of the community. This model boosts economic and planetary well-being and can be easily replicated to help reclaim sites impacted by mining around the world.

Despite having access, many consumers are not utilizing financial services. In a recent study, Mastercard partnered with Brazilian digital financial services platform Nubank to understand exactly why this rise in access hasn’t corresponded with an increase in consumer usage. One major takeaway: When consumers use their prepaid cards or real-time payments often, it increases familiarity and trust. Trust breeds more usage, further accelerating people’s inclusion in the financial system, and we all — banks, governments, financial service providers, and payment technology companies — have a responsibility to build that trust.

Mastercard details how it’s activating its network, services, products, and partnerships to drive the company’s commitment to doing well by doing good in its 2023 Environmental, Social and Governance Report. The report outlines Mastercard’s progress toward social impact goals to support people, prosperity, and our planet, as well as continued work beyond outlined milestones. Underscored by strong governance principles, the company’s ESG strategy and efforts directly support business success.

The 2024 Global Inclusive Growth Summit, hosted by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth in its 10th anniversary year, advances real solutions to today’s most pressing challenges through collaboration and candid conversation among entrepreneurs, innovators, policymakers, and emerging changemakers.

This year, we are excited to host speakers including Gina Raimondo, US Secretary of Commerce; Amina J. Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations; Megan Rapinoe, soccer champion, activist, and co-founder of A Touch More; Cristina Junqueira, co-founder and CEO of Nubank; Jon Huntsman Jr., incoming vice chairman and president of Strategic Growth at Mastercard; and many more. Register here.