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Mastercard’s Community Pass founder says digital ID platform improving lives, digital inclusion

Mastercard’s Community Pass founder says digital ID platform improving lives, digital inclusion

Tara Nathan, Mastercard executive vice president and founder of the Community Pass project says their work has, in the past four years, made significant contributions towards improving the lives and livelihoods of people who are digitally excluded and underserved. It currently serves 3.5 million people, she says.

In a recent episode of Mastercard’s “What’s Next In” podcast, Nathan explained that their digitization efforts through Community Pass “is helping to bring critical services and brighter opportunities to people in developing markets, and Mastercard is working to bridge the stiff digital divide.”

Community Pass is a digital platform launched in 2019 which provides a functional digital ID and a digital wallet in smart card form, that can enable access to government and humanitarian benefits and various services in sub–Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific.

In her exchange with the podcast host, Nathan discussed how Community Pass came into being and its evolution, the impact and successes it has recorded and how digitization broadly speaking can help proffer solutions to today’s pressing development challenges.

“In the most marginalized communities, people are receiving aid from governments and NGOs. There are farmers that are selling produce without receiving payments. So, what Community Pass does is that it sets off digital rails that operate offline. It enables a farmer or a mother with a child that needs healthcare, or a marginalized village dweller to use a digital identity to go transact digitally in the local village where they live,” said Nathan.

She noted that the development of Community Pass was partly inspired by the work they did many years ago at Mastercard on how to leverage mobile money to deliver humanitarian aid a through charity organization.

Community Pass, she explains, is the sum total of three initial standalone solutions namely Farm Pass, Wellness Pass, and Commerce Pass.

Farm Pass, she said, is a solution that was designed to help give visibility to farmers’ produce and also to build digital profiles which can enable them get access to credit.

“With Farm Pass, we solved the first layer of problem which is how they sell their produce, and then we solved a second layer of problem which is how to create and track a credit record for them so they can become lendable,” Nathan explained.

Apart from Farm Pass, she said they also built a solution dubbed Wellness Pass which sought to put in place a system where governments could be able to track who gets what vaccines and what the outcomes and feedback are.

“Here, there is a digital identity that we assign to a caregiver and children, and we are able to, on behalf of entities like the GAVI, digitally record and track the process. With this, the government can gauge how close they are to disease eradication,” she said, adding that the Ministries of Health of Ethiopia and Mauritania have been among their partners for the Wellness Pass.

She disclosed that they have a commitment to reach over 30 million people with the Community Pass by 2027. The solution, she says, currently serves about 3.5 million people.

Early this year, Community Pass got an ID2020 certification.

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