MasterCard and UN Women join to advance empowerment of women

Partnership designed to drive financial inclusion of women, beginning with Nigerian pilot


(Purchase, N.Y., 8 March) – Around the world, nearly 2.4 billion people live without any form of official personal identification, and the majority of them are women. As part of broader International Women’s Day activities, MasterCard and UN Women signed a Memorandum of Understanding to address this imbalance and advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

In Purchase NY, MasterCard’s CFO, Martina Hund-Mejean signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with Lakshmi Puri, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Deputy Executive Director.
In Purchase NY, MasterCard’s CFO, Martina Hund-Mejean signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with Lakshmi Puri, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director.

The first initiative in this relationship is the launch of a pilot programme in Nigeria, which aims to provide half a million Nigerian women with ID cards enabled with electronic payments functionality.

“Research has shown that as soon as a person has a formal identity and access to electronic payments, they can prosper in ways they haven’t imagined before,” said Martina Hund-Mejean, Chief Financial Officer of MasterCard. “Our relationship with UN Women will help make a real difference in these women’s lives as they are more fully empowered to achieve their true potential.”

According to the World Bank, only 47 per cent of women worldwide have access to formal financial services, compared to 51 per cent of men. In Africa, this number increases to more than 70 per cent of women.

“One of UN Women’s main objectives is to increase women’s economic empowerment. The partnership with MasterCard will help pave the way to economic freedom and financial inclusion for women, initially in Nigeria,” says Lakshmi Puri, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. “We look forward to working together and see the potential of expanding the model to benefit women also in other countries. It is also encouraging that we will collaborate on knowledge generation, advocacy and resource mobilization for greater investment in gender equality and women’s empowerment—reflecting MasterCard and its CEO’s deep commitment to a Planet 50/50 and to supporting UN Women’s efforts,” she added. 

Under the programme, MasterCard and UN Women will further explore how and when Nigerians have signed up for the country’s national identity card programme. Based on these insights, a targeted programme will be launched to educate women on the benefits of the programme and enrol them for the identity card.

“This campaign will help at least half a million women in Nigeria gain access to financial services, many for the first time, and the support they need to enter the country’s formal economy,” says Omokehinde Ojomuyide, Vice-President and business lead for West Africa at MasterCard.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NSYE: MA), is a technology company in the global payments industry. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities—such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances—easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Twitter: @MasterCardMEA and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe to the latest news on the MEA Engagement Bureau.

MasterCard Communications Contacts:
Marisa Grimes – marisa.grimes[at], +1 (914) 249-2024
Geraldine Trennery - geraldine.trennery[at] +27 76 301-0264

UN Women Partnership Contact:
Ravi Karkara – ravi.karkara[at] +1 917 319 0161