SA’s Hello Paisa wins $150k Mastercard Foundation prize

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South Africa startup Hello Paisa has been awarded the US$150,000 MasterCard Foundation Clients at the Centre prize, recognising the world’s most impactful and sustainable financial services provider that puts “clients at the centre.”

Offered for the second year running, the award sees audience members at the annual MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion vote for the winner, to be selected from three finalists.

The prize aims to recognise the MasterCard Foundation’s belief that banks and financial service providers in developing countries should focus on the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.

“Putting poor clients at the centre of the design of new financial products and services helps bring underserved people into the formal banking system, improving their livelihoods and their ability to plan for the future,” Mastercard Foundation said.

The Clients at the Centre prize finds and recognizes the most customer-focused organisations working to deliver access to formal financial products and services to poor people.

South Africa’s Hello Paisa won this year’s prize with its low-cost international money transfer solution for remittances, which particularly aims to support foreign workers in sending money home.

“Hello Paisa has shown, and the audience agreed, that we can only achieve full universal financial inclusion if financial service providers truly understand the context and needs of the people that they serve,” said Ann Miles, director of financial inclusion and youth livelihoods at the MasterCard Foundation.

“Hello Paisa is doing just that. It understands that in order to provide for financially underserved communities, the clients they serve must be at the very centre of all of their efforts.”

The other two finalists were Indian digital lending company Artoo IT Solutions; and Kenya’s 4G Capital, a loan company focused on micro-entrepreneurs.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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