Mastercard and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the government agency mandated to promote the socioeconomic development of Mindanao, have announced a strategic partnership to empower more Filipinos to participate in the digital economy, thereby creating sustainable communities. The Mastercard – Mindanao Digital Partnership is the first Philippine region-level collaboration of its kind for Mastercard in Southeast Asia.
The goal is to accelerate digitization in the region and deliver world-class solutions that contribute to the rapid digitization of the region’s citizen services with a focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the region’s agriculture and tourism sectors.
Secretary of MinDA, Maria Belen Acosta, stated that the partnership will help to enhance the region’s economy. “We are excited to collaborate with Mastercard to boost financial inclusion through citizen service digitization, tourism, and cyber resilience programs in the region of Mindanao,” she said. “The collaboration will help the region bring better citizen experiences across the region’s local governments and attached agencies, improve financial literacy and participation, as well as improve the efficiency of digital payments and disbursements for MSMEs in agriculture and tourism in the region dubbed as the “breadbasket of the Philippines.”
As part of this digital partnership, Mastercard will collaborate with MinDA on priority areas including, but not limited to, MSME digitization, sustainable tourism, and cybersecurity augmentation. This will enable growth opportunities in Mindanao, where a quarter of the Philippines’ total population lives.
The Mastercard – Mindanao Digital Partnership will commence with Mindanao first as a “pivot region” that can become a model for national partnerships.
By leveraging data and insights from Mastercard, the MinDA can tap into trends, consumer behaviors and prospects, as well as formulate and implement tourism-related programs. This is expected to attract more visitors into the region—which saw the arrival of 1.66 million tourists in 2022— and to balance traffic flows during off-peak and high seasons and help drive tourists to visit lesser-known provinces.
“Mastercard is committed to helping build a more inclusive, sustainable digital economy to benefit the wider population. The company has been working with governments around the world to leverage the power of technology to effectively deliver socio-economic development programs benefitting businesses and consumers. Mastercard looks forward to working with the Mindanao Development Authority on initiatives to realize its ambitions on digital citizen services, MSME development, cybersecurity resilience, and broad-based enhancements across agriculture, transit and tourism,” said Kok Kee Lim, senior vice president, Government Engagement, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.
Mastercard has formed several partnerships and initiatives as part of its commitment to driving financial inclusion. These include assisting small businesses in going digital by equipping them with tools and resources to accept electronic payments, collaborating with corporations to develop solutions for cyber fraud, and working with governments to improve transit systems and make them more accessible to the public.
The Mastercard – Mindanao Digital Partnership is part of Mastercard’s drive to support the Philippines’ inclusive economic development agenda, including the improvement of relevant disbursement and MSME enablement programs, allowing Mastercard to bring more merchants into the fold by providing solutions that make card acceptance faster and more secure.
The partnership between Mastercard and MinDA will help to expand these programs and reach even more businesses in the region through the digitization of region services by providing access to capital, market access, business support, and easier access to government services such as licenses and permits — contributing to financial inclusion and supporting economic growth.
Simon Calasanz, country manager, Philippines, Mastercard, said, “This partnership between Mastercard and the Mindanao Development Authority will deliver world-class solutions in areas such as agriculture, cybersecurity, and tourism within the region of Mindanao. The Philippines has long been an important market for Mastercard, and this is why Mastercard remains committed to supporting the government’s goal of driving financial and digital inclusion and improving the delivery of public services through innovative payment technologies.”