MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation is a Canadian-based private philanthropic foundation established in 2006, endowed with shares in MasterCard International. The foundation operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors.

The MasterCard Foundation partners with visionary organisations to advance education and financial inclusion to catalyse prosperity in developing countries, particularly in Africa.

The MasterCard Foundation disbursed USD 298.3 million for development in 2019 in the form of grants. Compared to 2018, this amount represents an increase by 14% in real terms.

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In 2019, the MasterCard Foundation provided USD 5 million of gross disbursements to the multilateral system, accounting for 2% of its total development finance. The main multilateral channels used by the MasterCard Foundation included the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the United Nations Children’s Fund; and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. All of these contributions were earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes.

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See the section on Geographic and thematic focus for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system.

In 2019, the MasterCard Foundation channelled its development grants mostly through non-governmental organisations (35%) and the private sector (32%).

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In 2019, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 101 million of gross disbursements, all of which were channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the provider (earmarked funding). CSOs based in developing countries received 48% of the MasterCard Foundation’s allocations channelled to/through CSOs.

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In 2019, the MasterCard Foundation’s development finance was almost entirely focused on Africa. USD 294 million was allocated to Africa, accounting respectively for 99%. One per cent of gross disbursements was unspecified by region in 2019.

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Bilateral private development finance by recipient country

In 2019, 76% of gross disbursements went to the MasterCard Foundation’s top 10 recipients, most notably Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. The share of 18% was not allocated by country, mainly relating to expenditure for projects and programmes with a regional scope/unrestricted character.

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Least developed countries received USD 119 million (40%) of the MasterCard Foundation’s gross disbursements in 2019. The MasterCard Foundation allocated the highest share of its development finance (42%) to middle-income countries in 2019, noting that 18% was unallocated by income group.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country.

In 2019, most of the MasterCard Foundation’s development grants were allocated to social infrastructure and services. Contributions in this area accounted for 46% of its commitments (USD 351 million), showing a strong focus on education and job creation. Commitments for production sectors totalled USD 280 million (37%), with a particular focus on banking and agriculture, and forestry and fishing.

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In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the MasterCard Foundation focused almost all of its development finance on quality education and decent work & economic growth, with a significant contribution to gender equality and zero hunger too.

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In 2019, the MasterCard Foundation committed USD 510 million (67% of its allocable development finance) to gender equality and women’s empowerment overall.

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The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, the SDG focus of private development finance, channels of delivery, unspecified/unallocated allocations, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

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