WATERLOO, ON – October 27, 2020 – As part of its COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program, the Mastercard Foundation has partnered with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) under a new two-year program to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the agribusiness space in Senegal.
Titled Initiative pour la Résilience Économique des Micro, Moyennes et Petites Entreprises (IREM), the program will be activated in four regions within the country – Tambacounda, Kolda, Sédhiou, and Ziguinchor to protect agricultural value chains and boost overall productivity of farmer groups within these regions.
In partnership with the local institution, Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA), IREM will focus specifically on women- and youth-owned and managed agribusinesses to increase the agricultural productivity of 19,000 producers in the four regions. The initiative will also enhance access to solar-based irrigation systems to boost yield and improve the business performance of agri-food market actors by enhancing trade and increasing their financial capacity through access to affordable financing.
Announcing the partnership, Dr. Dorothy Nyambi, President and CEO at MEDA said, “Agriculture is a vital driver for prosperity and abundance and the time to build a resilient food system is now. MEDA is excited to join the Mastercard Foundation in this partnership to deliver effective and highly practical interventions that will ensure the women and youth in Senegal meet their needs as well as strengthen their contribution to the agribusiness ecosystem in the country.”
To increase access to market, IREM will catalyze the performance of digitalized platforms for agri-food market linkages. The use of digital platforms is expected to limit disruptions of the supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, attract youth to horticulture production, and raise awareness about COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Ensuring the sustainability of the agricultural value chain will go a long way in protecting livelihoods and building the resilience of actors within these value chains. Working with MEDA, we are extending the needed support and creating a pathway to recovery for women- and youth- owned and run agribusinesses in Senegal,” commented Nathalie Akon Gabala, Regional Head, Western, Central and Northern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation.
The Ministère de l’Agriculture et l’Équipement Rural in support of the partnership added, “The IREM project is aligned with the economic stimulus Fund of the Senegalese Government's Force COVID-19 plan aimed at providing direct support to the most affected sectors of the economy, including agriculture.”
IREM will also provide agribusiness development services to ensure environmentally sustainable production practices, and business continuity within the entire value chain in Senegal. As part of the partnership, MEDA, through its Risk Capital Fund (MRCF), will co-invest with Mastercard Foundation’s innovative finance initiative to benefit 19,000 farmers, as well as local farmer organizations, women, and youth-led businesses and youth leaders.
Since 1953, MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) has been implementing effective market-driven programs globally. MEDA combines innovative private sector solutions with a commitment to the advancement and empowerment of excluded, low-income and disadvantaged communities (including women and youth) with core expertise in market systems and value chains, climate-smart agriculture, inclusive financial services, and impact investment. MEDA partners with local private, public and civil society actors, strengthening individuals, institutions, communities and ecosystems, and thereby contributing to sustainable and inclusive systemic change.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.
For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org
About the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program
The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals. First, to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defense against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. These include universities, financial services providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
Dr. Millie Gadbois
Country Director, MEDA Senegal
firstname.lastname@example.org | +221 78 481 86 54 or
Krista O’Brien, Sr. Communications Manager, MEDA
email@example.com | 226-499-9038