The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP) has announced that three companies from Burundi, Malawi, and Uganda will receive a total of $2,808,295. The amount is aimed at supporting projects that expand financial inclusion in rural Africa.
The three companies were selected from among 195 firms that submitted applications to the third phase of the Fund’s 2017/2018 rolling competition.
The 2017/2018 rolling competition was one of the Fund’s largest in its efforts to find and support innovative and scalable financial products and services that improve the lives of poor people living in rural areas of Africa. Financing for a last group of companies, assessed as part of the fourth and final phase of the competition, will be announced in early 2019.
Earlier this year, the Fund awarded US$9 million to nine projects in the first and second phases of the competition.
"The nine companies were selected from more than 300 firms competing in the first two phases of the Fund’s 2017/2018 rolling competition, which launched in June 2017 and closed in January 2018"
The Fund portfolio now includes 33 projects spread across 14 countries in Africa (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia).
This latest round of support will extend agronomy, finance, and insurance solutions to excluded rural populations in the three countries.
Companies selected in Phase 3 are Prothem Usine S.A (Burundi)., Pula Advisors GmbH Limited (Malawi) and Enviu BV Limited (Uganda). The three companies received $800,000, $1,158,295 and $800,000, respectively.
Prothem will partner with SOCADE Microfinance to provide both agricultural and financial services to smallholder farmer suppliers in Burundi. While Pula and its partners will scale up a bundle of financial and agronomic services for smallholder farmers in Malawi and Zambia.
Lastly, Enviu is charged with making pensions affordable and available to all. The company has developed a micro-pension product specifically designed for the informal sector, enabling workers to save for retirement during their working life.