How Mastercard is working with Europe to provide next phase of support for UkraineSeptember 27, 2022 | By Mark Barnett
From left, Oleksii Shaban of National Bank of Ukraine, Mastercard's Mark Barnett and Mairead McGuinness of the European Commission. (Photo credit: © European Union)
Yesterday, I represented Mastercard at a European Commission roundtable event to discuss how best we can provide the next phase of support for Ukraine. The meeting – which was attended by representatives from the Commission, the World Bank, the National Bank of Ukraine, and fellow payment industry leaders – culminated in the signing of a Joint Statement in which we committed to further improve the transparency, cost and accessibility of remittances to Ukraine.
It was powerful to witness – and be part of – a group of European payments leaders coming together and making a pact in support of the people of Ukraine. Remittance flows to Ukraine have long been significant to the country’s economy – they surpassed $14 billion in 2021, representing 7% of GDP – but the humanitarian crisis has reiterated their importance to the safety and livelihood of the country’s population. The World Bank and European Commission anticipate that remittances in Ukraine will rise by more than 20% in 2022. At Mastercard, we are fully committed to continue working with Governments and NGOs and provide digital solutions to contribute quickly and efficiently to this remittances effort to come into Ukraine.
The next step on a long journey
By signing the European Commission’s Joint Statement, we take the next step forward on our journey of supporting the recovery and re-building of Ukraine. Our history of working with Ukrainian people and businesses is one rich with innovation, inclusion, and optimism and we will do all we can to protect the long-term prosperity of their nation.
At the core of our response to Ukraine lies the ability to mobilise the breadth of our assets, networks, and business pillars to build partnerships, initiatives, and solutions that form a varied relief strategy.
The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth has formed a critical vehicle through which we have been able to offer support to those that need it most. Through a philanthropic commitment of $1,9 million, we have partnered with programmes – such as the Impact Foundation’s ‘Rebuilding Ukrainian Businesses - Entrepreneurial Women’ programme – promoting the ongoing stability and well-being of displaced Ukrainians currently residing in Poland.
Equally, in June, we announced a dedicated pillar of our Mastercard Start Path initiative that has been specifically designed for Ukrainian fintechs and entrepreneurs. This six-month programme, supported by the National Bank and the Ministry for Digital Transformation of Ukraine, will provide mentorship and resources to five Ukrainian start-ups who will benefit from direct product support, story development and access to trusted connections.
Working with Europe, for Ukraine
Our latest agreement with the European Commission exhibits the pan-regional and international collaboration that has underpinned our approach to Ukrainian relief to-date.
Earlier this year, we co-announced Diia.Business – the first Business Advisory Centre for Ukrainians, based in Warsaw – alongside the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Polish Ministry of Development and Technology, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency and the Office of the Government Plenipotentiary for Cybersecurity.
We have also launched a new platform – called WhereToStay.com – to support refugees relocating to Poland. The site takes housing and wages data from Poland’s Central Statistics Office and – aggregated with our own spending data – provides a snapshot of how much it costs to live in each Polish town.
Our international collaboration also stretches further afield. In April, we worked with CORE – the global crisis response NGO – to launch the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Cash Assistance Program. By combining resources with CORE, we developed a flexible cash assistance program in the form of prepaid cash cards. Initially, 2,500 cards – pre-loaded with €150 – were distributed to refugees leaving Ukraine for Poland and other bordering countries.
The building blocks of tomorrow’s Ukraine
The aforementioned initiatives all represent small components of a global effort to protect Ukraine and avoid long-term regression. While humanitarian aid remains critical, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky continues to lead discourse towards building the Ukraine of tomorrow.
At Mastercard, we will continue to leverage our global network and resources to provide support to the people and businesses of Ukraine. While I’m proud of the work we have done to-date and the selfless commitment shown by our people, the next phase of support will be equally as challenging. To address the hurdles ahead – and provide support that enables a resilient, prosperous Ukraine – we will continue to lead with the innovation and partnership that lie at the heart of our wider strategy in Europe.