Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 48 countries, The MasterCard Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper. An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, it was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006.
The world youth1 population is growing rapidly, with many youth facing serious obstacles: according to statistics from the International Labor Organization, only 30 percent are living in countries where there are decent jobs for them. The majority of these young people are highly motivated but poorly prepared to identify, seize, and generate employment opportunities for themselves.
On one hand, the current and upcoming surge in the number of youth presents a tremendous opportunity. The majority of youth are intelligent, ambitious, curious, motivated, and passionate young citizens who want to gain technical, financial, and life skills. The quality and kinds of education and training opportunities they receive set the stage for many of their economic prospects and success as adults, and in turn, for their children. On the other hand, youth whose energies are not channeled productively represent a tremendous waste of human potential and can result in youth-driven drags on country development, such as crime, violence, poor health, extremism, and social and political instability2. To address these challenges, practitioners must be able to design and measure each element of their development program in a manner that both responds to market needs and opportunities and develops the full range of skills needed by youth.