Key Developments

Mastercard Foundation Launches Agribusiness Challenge to Empower SMEs in Africa

The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity is offering a new opportunity for SMEs in the agricultural sector across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Agribusiness Challenge Fund seeks proposals from businesses that can create significant employment opportunities for young people, with a specific focus on empowering young women, individuals with disabilities, and refugee youth.

“The agriculture sector holds immense potential for innovative SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa to flourish,” said Mrs. Smita Sanghrajka, Engagement Partner for the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity.

“This initiative aims to unlock dignified and fulfilling work opportunities for young people, particularly young women, those with disabilities, and refugees.”

Selected SMEs will receive grants ranging from US$500,000 to US$2.5 million, disbursed over a three-year period.

The specific amount awarded will depend on the applicant’s development stage, scalability, and business model.

Additionally, the program will provide successful applicants with tailored technical assistance aligned with the Fund’s objectives.

The Agribusiness Challenge Fund is the first of several sector-specific initiatives planned by the Mastercard Foundation.

The call for proposals is currently open and will close on November 22, 2024.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with collections every 12 weeks.

SMEs from any country are eligible to apply as long as their projects are implemented in one of the 20 focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which include Kenya, Benin, Burundi, and others.

This new program leverages the achievements of the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity, which ran from 2014 to 2023.

The previous initiative supported 38 businesses across 15 African countries, enabling them to reach over 5.3 million people with innovative financial products and services, promoting financial inclusion in rural areas.

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