Equity and MasterCard foundations scholarships


Commitment at Clinton Global Initiative to benefit over 600,000 unbanked, low-income people

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The MasterCard Foundation, Equity Group Foundation, Equity Bank and the Government of Kenya today committed – at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting – to advance the educational, financial and entrepreneurial capacity of more than 600,000 Kenyan women and youth. The goal of the commitment, catalyzed by a $15.5 million contribution from The MasterCard Foundation, is to increase the employability and productivity of Kenya’s low-income and unbanked population. The partnership will also provide comprehensive scholarships and leadership training to top-performing students who are economically vulnerable to enable their completion of secondary school.

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“This investment creates new economic opportunities for Kenyan women and youth. Our partnership will expand access to secondary education for young people and build the financial capability of microentrepreneurs,” said Reeta Roy, president and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation.

Equity Group Foundation will provide financial education to low-income and unbanked women and young people in Kenya over the next three years. Of these beneficiaries, 7,500 high-potential entrepreneurs will receive additional one-on-one mentoring and business training to develop their enterprises. In order to enhance their financial capacity, women and young people in the program will be provided access to savings and other services through Equity Bank.

“In order to become economically productive, people living in poverty require access to knowledge, supportive networks and financial services. This partnership delivers these critical tools and empowers people to change their own lives. Lessons from this program will influence our bank and others to mobilize social change,” said Dr. James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank and chairman of Equity Group Foundation. Dr. Mwangi also chairs the Delivery Board of Vision 2030 – Kenya’s strategy to become a middle-income country by 2030.

Equity Bank will also make available up to $200 million in credit to the women and youth trained through the program. In addition, the Government of Kenya has set up a Ksh.3 billion (approximately $40 million) fund for financial institutions to engage in lending to youth, expediting access to credit for this critical demographic.

The commitment addresses a continuum of challenges – low secondary school completion, limited access to financial services and high unemployment rates – for low-income women and youth. Despite the highly successful Free Primary Education Policy instituted by the Government of Kenya, only four percent of students who complete 8th grade make it to university. Many of these individuals are counted among the 80 percent of Kenyans who lack access to financial services, 50 percent who live on less than $2 a day and 40 percent who are unemployed.

The MasterCard Foundation believes that every person has the potential to transform their lives and to improve the lives of their families and communities. By increasing access to microfinance and youth education to people in developing countries, the Foundation is enabling them to realize their potential and lift themselves out of poverty. It is an independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, and was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. For more information, see  

Equity Group Foundation was established by Equity Bank, one of the top five banks in Kenya and the largest microfinance provider in East and Central Africa, to create the financial and operational infrastructure for social programs aimed at low-income populations. Its goal is to transform the socioeconomic status of people in Africa. To learn more, visit


SOURCE the MasterCard Foundation; Equity Group Foundation

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