Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity Competition 2017/2018

Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity Competition 2017/2018

Deadline: Rolling

The fourth call for applications has opened for the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity, which seeks to identify and support new and/or scalable financial products and services that can transform lives in Sub Saharan Africa. The 2017/2018 Competition is open to project proposals as long as the projects are to be implemented in one of the 24 African countries of focus that the Fund prioritises.

The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity is a US$50 million challenge fund to extend financial services to people living in poverty. If you have a great idea that can make an impact, submit your application now! The Fund will ensure 1,000,000 people in rural Africa have access to appropriate savings, credit and insurance services.

The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity seeks to transform the lives of millions of people in rural Africa by supporting scalable financial services and products that:

  • increase their incomes (for example, with agricultural input loans that improve crop yields);
  • improve their resilience (for example, through access to insurance or savings); and
  • lift their communities (for example, by creating jobs and stimulating the growth of stable, rural finance markets).

The three principles guiding the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity are:

  • Impact: Projects should have a positive effect on the lives of rural poor people through job creation, income generation, productivity gains and reduced vulnerability.
  • Innovation: The Fund intends to harness the creativity and capacity of the financial sector and agribusinesses to innovate, increase access to and deliver financial services at scale.
  • Sustainability: Projects supported under the Fund should state explicitly how they aim to achieve financial sustainability over time.

Do you have an innovative idea that can provide people in rural Africa with access to savings, credit and insurance services? Apply now!


The grant requested (D2) must be at least US$250,000 and no more than US$2,500,000.


You must meet ALL of the following criteria for your application to be considered:

  • Your organization is a private, for-profit organization, partnership or sole trader. In this regard, applications from organizations that are majority owned (at least 50% and above) by government or by a non-profit entity are not eligible.
  • If you are submitting a joint application, there must be one organization designated as a lead. The lead organization must be one of the following:
    • a licensed financial organization,
    • a for-profit organization that provides or plans to provide a financial service to the rural poor, or
    • a for-profit organization that provides or plans to provide non-financial services to clients of financial services providers to enable them to utilise financial services effectively.
  • Applicants need to demonstrate their capacity to implement their proposed projects. Lead applicants must have an established and verifiable organizational track record. The Fund for Rural Prosperity will not support start-ups as lead applicants.
  • The total support requested from the Fund for Rural Prosperity must be at least US$250,000 and no more than US$2,500,000.
  • The lead organization (and its partners) must provide at least 30% of the total cost of the project budget (matching funds). This is to demonstrate risk-sharing between the organization and the Fund.
  • The Fund for Rural Prosperity support request should be for a specific, innovative and/or scalable financial product, process, or service for rural customers or a specific, innovative and/or scalable tool that facilitates the uptake of financial services. They will provide support to financial products, services, or combinations of them tailored to the needs of rural and agricultural customers, especially smallholder farmers. Projects may involve the provision of non-financial services aimed at improving the ability of rural and agricultural customers to benefit from financial products and services.
  • You must demonstrate the project’s potential for increasing the provision of financial services to the financially excluded rural poor in target countries.
  • The project will be implemented in one or more of the 24 eligible Sub-Saharan Africa countries.
  • Your organization must demonstrate “additionality” i.e. that the project would not go ahead without the Fund’s support or that, if it would go ahead anyway, it would be at a much-reduced pace or scale.
  • Cooperatives and Sacco are NOT eligible to apply for financial support as lead applicants.
  • KPMG SEC Audit Clients are ineligible. These are KPMG audit clients regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission of the US or KPMG audit clients who fall under the categories outlined here.

Selection Criteria

  • Capacity of the company to implement
  • Commercial viability
  • Development impact
  • Innovation
  • Capacity development of end users

How It Works

  • The Fund will operate two competitions per year (an Innovation Competition and a Scaling Competition) in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The Fund itself will function for seven years with the final four years dedicated to monitoring and evaluation of the projects that received financial support.
  • The Innovation Competition will support projects in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
  • The Scaling Competition will support projects in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
  • The competitions are destined for financial service providers such as banks, microfinance institutions, insurance companies and agribusinesses who may wish to apply for support.


The ‘rolling’ competition format presents an opportunity for high potential applications which were unsuccessful in one round to have time to strengthen their applications and re-enter them before the next closing date.

For a quick reference to some of the common questions being asked about the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity, please click here.

Download the Competition Guidance Notes.

For more information, visit Mastercard Foundation Fund.