The Mastercard Foundation Awards First “Clients at the Centre Prize” at Annual Symposium on Financial Inclusion

Global Financial Service Practitioners and Industry Experts Gather to Advance Practical Ways to Increase Financial Inclusion for the Poor

Ann Miles, Director of Programs, Financial Inclusion & Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation and Mathilda Strom, Deputy CEO/Head of Business of BIMA

Ann Miles, Director of Programs, Financial Inclusion & Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation and Mathilda Strom, Deputy CEO/Head of Business of BIMA

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, 19 November 2015,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The MasterCard Foundation today awarded its first “Clients at the Centre” Prize to BIMA. The US$150,000 Prize recognizes the company’s innovative work in providing mobile-delivered micro-insurance and health services to 20 million customers in 14 emerging markets

The award was presented at The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, the annual gathering of financial service industry practitioners serving the needs of poor people in developing countries, being held from November 19-20 in Cape Town.

The MasterCard Foundation believes that putting poor clients at the centre of the design process greatly increases the effectiveness of financial products and services and helps to bring people into the formal banking system, improving their livelihoods.

“The benefits of access to finance for individuals, having the ability to save, borrow and transfer money, and also to insure themselves, are well understood,” said Ann Miles, Director of Programs, Financial Inclusion & Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation. “We’ve seen significant progress recently but the world can only achieve universal financial inclusion if financial service providers truly understand the unique context and needs of poor people. BIMA is doing just that and stands as a model of what can be done.”

Research shows that access to the formal financial system can improve the lives of people living in poverty and small businesses. Financial inclusion can boost job creation, leading to poverty reduction and enabling more people to pay for important services such as health and education.

The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion is an annual event hosted by The MasterCard Foundation in partnership with the Boulder Institute of Microfinance. It attracts the world’s leading experts and practitioners in the field of financial inclusion, including representatives of financial service providers (banks, microfinance institutions), mobile telephone network operators, governments and regulatory agencies, national and international NGOs, and donors from the public and private sectors.

During the two-day event, they will explore trends in the sector and ways to move more quickly and with more impact to bring secure, affordable and convenient financial services to the world’s two billion people who lack access to them. This year, more than 325 people from 62 countries are attending the Symposium.

To join the conversation at the Symposium on Financial Inclusion, follow the Foundation on Twitter @MCFoundation and the event hashtag: #SoFI2015.

Symposium materials can be found at

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of The MasterCard Foundation.

About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest, independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion in order to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information, please visit

About BIMA

BIMA is the fastest growing provider of mobile-delivered micro-insurance and health services in emerging markets. 93% of our customer base lives on less than US$10 per day and are at high risk for illness and injury. Low-income people feel the financial impact of these shocks almost immediately so insurance is a powerful tool that can prevent them from falling back into poverty. Our mission is to create a world where everyone can access to the services they need to protect the future of their family.

Our disruptive model uses mobile technology for payment and registration, making our products accessible to the unbanked. We complement our tech platform with peer-to-peer education carried out by BIMA’s dedicated agent force. From an initial pilot in Ghana, we have grown to serve 20 million customers in 14 markets spanning three continents. 80-95% of our customers are accessing insurance for the very first time.

BIMA’s scale, diverse geographic footprint and network of 4,000 community-based sales agents give us an unrivalled insight into the emerging consumer. We incorporate customer feedback into every aspect of our operation; placing the customer at the centre has enabled us to design products, distribution models and a customer experience that truly works for these families.

We are committed to expanding our client-centred approach to achieve greater scale and penetrate highly underserved segments of the emerging consumer base. This will be key to our further success and enable us to widen access to insurance on a scale never seen before.

For more information, please contact:
Roger Morier
Senior Manager, Communications
The MasterCard Foundation
+1-416-616-1864 (mobile)

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