Mastercard has appointed Salah Goss as Head of the Mastercard Labs for Financial Inclusion, based in Nairobi, Kenya. She will be leading the Lab, which has opened its doors in 2015 and is part of a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Salah brings extensive experience in financial inclusion specializing in mobile enabled solutions, agent banking and community-managed microfinance. In her new role, Salah will oversee the development of digital solutions that positively impact low income households in Africa, and other developing markets.
Salah previously worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she focused on innovative business models for mobile-enabled financial products. Prior to the Gates Foundation, she worked in Africa as a financial analyst at Sanabel Microfinance Network of Arab Countries in Cairo, Egypt and then help lead the establishment of the West Africa regional office of the Soros Open Society Foundation based in Dakar, Senegal.
Mastercard Labs for Financial Inclusion is one of a global series of Mastercard Innovation Hubs, and is the technology company’s first lab focused on financial inclusion.
The Kenyan-based technology hub is committed to empowering 100 million Africans previously excluded from formal financial sector by 2020, through the use of public-private partnerships, and the innovation of locally relevant technology solutions that are underpinned by a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in Africa.
“The knowledge, expertise and experience that Salah brings to the Labs further strengthens our ability to deliver more inclusive growth and empower people, reinforcing our position at the forefront of financial inclusion,” says Michael Elliott, the previous Head of the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion, who has now taken up a global position as Senior Vice President, Financial Inclusion Portfolio, Products and Innovation (PI), Mastercard.
“Bringing in a proven leader like Salah will help us continue to work with entrepreneurs from Africa and the developing world to create local products rooted in Mastercard’s global knowhow,” he says.
Salah has been with Mastercard for four years, and has extensive experience in the financial inclusion arena. In her previous role as Vice President, Global Products and Solutions, she was focused on creating partnerships with the development community, NGOs and governments to design payments, data and financial solutions that fostered financial inclusion, and addressed wider economic development challenges.
“The growing adoption of technology and the culture of innovation in Africa and other emerging markets has presented an opportunity to create smarter, safer and more convenient ways to do business, and to impact underserved communities,” Salah said.
“At Mastercard, we believe that it is only by taking a partnership approach that we’re able to generate ideas and address local challenges and opportunities relevant to underserved and unbanked populations, across industries – in agriculture, education, health, trade and entrepreneurship, energy, water and sanitation.”
Testament to this are mobile payment solutions coming out of the Labs, which are built for Kenyans, like Kionect and 2KUZE, and Kupaa, a new app being piloted in Ugandan schools.
“It is our mandate to work with partners across sectors: NGOs; development organizations; financial and academic institutions, technology companies; mobile network operators; governments; and start-ups, to develop locally relevant solutions that connect communities at the bottom of the economic pyramid to the full benefits of the global economy – by providing secure, convenient and quick payment solutions,” says Salah.
Building on this understanding, Salah’s new role will see her driving the scale of innovative solutions across Africa and other emerging markets, in order to develop practical and cost-effective financial tools that expand access to vital services and help build stable futures for low-income communities.