Visa Foundation offers emergency relief aid

April 20, 2020 | 08:00
The Visa Foundation has announced a commitment of two programmes totalling $210 million to support micro- and small-sized enterprises (MSEs), aligning with the foundation’s long-term focus on women’s economic advancement and inclusive economic development.
1488 p24 visa foundation offers emergency relief aid
Support is being accelerated for micro- and small-sized businesses

The funding will also address the urgent need from local communities following the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The first programme of $10 million is designated for immediate emergency relief to support charitable organisations on the frontlines responding to the health crisis, such as public health and food relief, in each of the five geographic regions in which Visa operates: North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Central Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

“As COVID-19 continues to unfold, communities are feeling the effects and need our immediate support,” said Al Kelly, CEO and chairman of Visa. “As a global company that operates a very local business, we recognise this need. We’re also committed to the long-term recovery and will continue to explore ways we can accelerate economic activity in line with our mission to help individuals, businesses, and economies thrive.”

The second programme is a five-year strategic $200 million commitment to support MSEs around the world, with a focus on fostering women’s economic advancement. This action expands the Visa Foundation’s long-standing support for small and micro businesses globally. The funds from the foundation will provide capital to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and investment partners supporting such businesses.

MSEs are the backbone of the global economy, accounting for more than 90 per cent of worldwide businesses and contributing 50 to 60 per cent of global employment. There is a $300 billion annual credit deficit in funding for women-owned small and micro businesses, which is expected to grow given the recent economic turmoil unfolding due to the pandemic.

In Vietnam, MSEs account for roughly 98 per cent of all businesses, 40 per cent of GDP, 50 per cent of total employment, and women-owned enterprises account for about 30 per cent of the country’s businesses.

“The effects of COVID-19 are being felt around the world on a myriad of levels, but in particular, the most vulnerable in our societies are also those that are most likely to experience both the health and economic shocks from this crisis,” said Dang Tuyet Dung, Visa country manager for Vietnam and Laos.

“At Visa, we feel privileged to be in a position to offer support and contribution during this difficult time. We look forward to working with businesses, consumers, and the government in Vietnam to assist with the recovery efforts,” she added.

CEO Kelly added, “Now more than ever, we must accelerate our support for MSEs on the frontlines driving economic growth. As many MSEs owners are women, there will be a ripple effect supporting their economic advancement, which we believe is one of the most important ways to achieve gender equality, reduce poverty, and foster inclusive economic development.”

Through the $200 million micro-and small-sized business programme, the Visa Foundation will provide $60 million in grants to NGOs dedicated to supporting related owners, many of whom are women, in every region where Visa operates. The foundation will also allocate $140 million with investment partners that generate positive social and financial returns for MSEs.

“$200 million in new financial resources demonstrates our continuing commitment to support MSEs, with a focus on women’s economic advancement globally,” said Graham Macmillan, president of the Visa Foundation. “When women thrive, communities thrive. We know this matters now more than ever as the global economy seeks to recover and rebuild.”

By Hara Nguyen

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional