Journey to one billion

In 2020, Mastercard made a commitment to bring one billion people into the digital economy by 2025. Now the company is shining a spotlight on the significance of financial inclusion in addressing some of the world’s most pressing socioeconomic challenges in a new podcast called “Journey to One Billion.”

Hosted by award-winning journalist and news anchor Fifi Peters, “Journey to One Billion” features Mastercard experts, business leaders, community champions and entrepreneurs from across the Middle East, Africa and around the world who are working together to build a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy where people and the planet can thrive.

The “Journey to One Billion” podcast charts Mastercard’s 10-year journey to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the digital economy — a goal achieved in 2020 — and its new pledge at the start of the pandemic to include 500 million more, for a total of one billion people by 2025. As part of this commitment, the company will focus on empowering 50 million small businesses and 25 million women entrepreneurs to growth their businesses.

The nine-part series spotlights the innovative partnerships, inspiring stories and technological advancements behind the ambitious goal, and offers solutions and insights around the key building blocks needed to create an inclusive digital economy.

“Financial inclusion is at the heart of Mastercard’s ambition to build a more inclusive world for everyone, everywhere,” says Beatrice Cornacchia, senior vice president for Marketing and Communications in Mastercard’s Middle East and Africa region. “Through the insightful stories shared in this podcast, we are looking to build a deeper understanding of the innovations and inspiring partnerships that are driving financial inclusion forward, supporting small businesses and helping to build a more connected and equal world.”

In episode one, Ajay Banga, Mastercard’s recently-retired executive chairman and former CEO, discusses the power of the digital economy as a force for good in the world.



Episode two features Raghu Malhotra, Mastercard’s co-president of International Markets, who is responsible for the growth strategies of more than 200 countries and territories. Raghu is passionate about financial inclusion and sees the digital economy as the pathway to levelling the playing field and creating opportunities for all.



The third episode focuses on unlocking the female economy and empowering women entrepreneurs, with Mastercard Executive Vice Chair Ann Cairns and Sarah Beydoun, founder and creative director of Lebanese fashion house and social enterprise Sarah’s Bag.



You can find these and more episodes of “Journey to One Billion” on your favorite podcasting platforms, including Apple and Spotify, and on Mastercard’s Middle East and Africa Newsroom here.