Financial inclusion for women through Project Kirana

Mastercard and USAID have joined forces to create digital Kirana shops, owned or operated by women

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Project Kirana launched by MasterCard, a global payments tech and USAID, a development agency, will enroll as many as 3000 women in Uttar Pradesh.

The project will help increase revenue streams, expand financial inclusion and digital payment adoption through Kirana shops run by these 3000 women.

The initiative will address the gaps in gender equality, towards women-owned businesses to help them thrive and grow, globally. MasterCard has set aside $ 250 million in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). India will receive $ 33 million from this share, which should empower women entrepreneurs for the coming five years.

The project will also help in inclusive growth, with small business owners and women enjoying access to credit and increasing their business acumen. USAID’s global network includes a 186-member strong group of gender advisors, who accelerate the development agency’s work worldwide.

The two-year programme will focus intensively on building financial and digital literacy skills on banking, digital payments, saving, credit and insurance. It will be implemented by DAI and ACCESS Development Services in some cities of Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, Kanpur and Varanasi.

Equal opportunities for women in business will not only ensure gender equality but also fulfil an economic priority. Further, this partnership is a commitment from the US government towards strengthening the private sector through economic empowerment of the global women’s workforce.

India is amongst the countries with the highest gender gap in the world. Project Kirana is here to ensure that more women are brought into the formal economy.