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MasterCard and Cisco Pump Money into Microfinance Initiative

Bank Technology News  |  March, 2010

The Grameen Foundation plans to expand its program that supplies technology for microfinance firms with new financial backing from MasterCard and Cisco.

The foundation will extend the Mifos platform to enhance connections to mobile payments platforms. Mifos helps microfinance firms, which operate largely in developing countries, to automate their systems—offering a common platform for these firms to combine efforts to deliver information and financial services to economically challenged regions.

The technology also helps collect social performance data, which in turn aids efforts to improve measurements of the Progress Out of Poverty Index (PPI), a global poverty index that helps microfinance firms assess effectiveness of their programs.

The MasterCard Foundation will provide $1.23 million, while The Cisco Foundation will provide $500,000. The MasterCard grant will help form the Mifos Consortium, a group of bellwether microfinance firms that will develop a benchmark for successful technology management in the microfinance sector as well as measure ROI. The initial members include microfinance firms from India, Tunisia, Lebanon, Kenya and the Philippines.

The Cisco grant will enable Grameen to improve the Mifos platform’s efforts to increase scale, innovation, sustainability and social impact of microfinance firms.