Mastercard (MA) Unveils Digital Initiative for African Farmers

Mastercard Incorporated MA recently teamed up with the African Development Bank Group to unveil the “Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy Alliance: Africa” in a bid to enhance digital transformation efforts across Africa. In the next decade, this initiative aims to provide the continent’s 100 million individuals and businesses with digital access to critical services.

The initial scope of the program will be to extend assistance to the agricultural sector and women. A pilot program is also expected to be launched this year, which will take the help of local banks to aid 3 million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. Farmers will be provided with digital identities and access to high-quality seeds and agricultural inputs.

The partners plan to expand the reach of the new initiative to Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and other African countries at a later time.

As part of the program, Mastercard aims to register 15 million African users onto its Community Pass platform within a period of five years. Community Pass, a digital platform launched in 2020, offers tools and technologies to counter infrastructure headwinds that often crop up with the digitization of rural communities. Meanwhile, the African Development Bank Group will invest $300 million to support alliance programs and provide finance for upgrading digital infrastructure.

The recent alliance reflects Mastercard’s sincere efforts to increase the uptake of agricultural technologies, provide better income opportunities for an extensive number of African smallholder farmers and grow the customer base of its Community Pass platform. The help extended to this section of the community seems to be prudent since they usually grapple with a dearth of resources and funds required for integrating digitization within their daily operations.

The tech giant keeps a keen eye on establishing a solid foothold in Africa, which continues to witness a booming digital economy, spurred by the increased usage of mobile phones, a steady increase in Internet penetration rates and favorable government policies. Therefore, the tech giant remains quite active in deepening its presence in various African markets through partnerships with regional financial institutions or significant investments.

The recent collaboration also bears testament to the public-private partnership strategy pursued by Mastercard, under which it works in unison with the government bodies or private sector companies of various countries to infuse greater digitization across various sectors of the economy.  

In 2023, Mastercard collaborated with the India-based Agri Entrepreneur Growth Foundation to unveil a digital platform, Bharat Kisan Manch, to provide Indian farmers expanded access to agricultural marketplaces and formal financial services.  

Shares of Mastercard have gained 20.6% in the past year compared with the industry’s 18.8% growth. MA currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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Some better-ranked stocks in the Business Services space are RCM Technologies, Inc. RCMT, FTI Consulting, Inc. FCN and Paysafe Limited PSFE. While RCM Technologies sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), FTI Consulting and Paysafe carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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FTI Consulting’s earnings outpaced estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 27.82%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for FCN’s 2024 earnings suggests an improvement of 6.6% from the year-ago reported figure. The consensus estimate for revenues suggests growth of 6.5% from the year-ago reported number. The consensus mark for FCN’s 2024 earnings has moved 0.9% north in the past 30 days.

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Shares of RCM Technologies, FTI Consulting and Paysafe have gained 34.6%, 17.1% and 89.8%, respectively, in the past year.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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