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Mastercard announces partnership with the Ministry of Sustainable Development of Bahrain, BENEFIT, Tamkeen, and StartUp Bahrain to launch the Mastercard Challenge on Financial Inclusion for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Themed ‘Solving for the Future,’ this competition encourages university students across Bahrain to propose innovative, data-driven solutions that advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through financial inclusion.

This initiative aligns with the Ministry of Sustainable Development’s strategy to engage the private sector in advancing the SDGs and emphasizes the critical role of youth in driving global development. Mastercard’s commitment to integrating one billion people and 50 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into the digital economy by 2025 underscores the challenge’s focus.

HE Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development, highlighted Bahrain’s leadership in digital financial infrastructure, noting, “Given the role of financial inclusion as an enabler of several SDGs, the Mastercard Challenge seeks to encourage Bahrain’s youth to develop new solutions which can unlock its full potential by creating more economic opportunities, enabling economic diversification, and boosting sustainable growth.”

HE Ms. Maha Abdulhameed Mofeez, CE of Tamkeen, emphasized, “We believe in the capabilities of Bahraini youth and their potential to drive impactful change in the Kingdom. We are excited to collaborate with the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Mastercard, and BENEFIT to offer this unique opportunity to Bahraini students to tackle a pressing topic through innovation and gain access to expert knowledge and a valuable platform to showcase their solutions. Supporting the Mastercard Challenge is aligned with our commitment to enabling Bahraini talent to pursue an entrepreneurial path through training, mentorship, and access to funding.”

Adam Jones, Division President, West Arabia, Mastercard, remarked, “We are delighted to join forces with our valued partners in Bahrain to introduce the Mastercard Challenge that empowers youth to apply its immense innovation potential to ideate out-of-the box solutions to the world’s most urgent issues.”

The competition is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students in Bahrain, who will explore real-life challenges within sectors such as education, healthcare, climate, environment, tourism, and business. Winners will gain access to extensive resources, including a year-long enrollment in Mastercard Academy, a visit to Mastercard EEMEA HQ, and a paid internship at BENEFIT.

The deadline for applications is July 31. Finalists will pitch their ideas at the Fintech Forward 2024 conference in October, aiming to implement their innovations in Bahrain’s thriving financial ecosystem.