Mastercard has announced a partnership with billionaire investor George Soros to work on a for-profit humanitarian project called Humanity Ventures that could bring aid to migrants and refugees around the world.

Soros will invest up to $50 million in the new, standalone enterprise and Mastercard will contribute its expertise and technology to help expand access to health care and education and to foster local economic development and entrepreneurship in vulnerable communities, Soros and Mastercard said in a Jan. 19 press release.

Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga met with Soros at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week to discuss various solutions Mastercard may devise with Humanity Ventures, Mastercard said in the release.

Billionaire investor George Soros
Billionaire investor George Soros IMAGE: Bloomberg News

One tool Mastercard may contribute to Humanity Ventures is the Mastercard Aid Network, a digital voucher platform Mastercard previously developed in partnership with other humanitarian organizations, according to the press release.

“Over several years, we’ve applied our thinking and technology to help hundreds of millions connect to the formal economy and to help empower safer and more efficient aid distribution,” Banga said in the release.

Soros and Banga envision Humanity Ventures as a new model that combines the need for business returns with social impact, according to the release

“Humanity Ventures is intended to be profitable so as to stimulate involvement from other businesspeople. We also hope to establish standards of practice to ensure that investments are not exploitative of the vulnerable communities we intend to serve,” Soros said in the release.

As part of its broad push to expand financial inclusion around the world, Mastercard earlier this week unveiled 2Kuse, a mobile payments initiative to enhance African farmers’ operations.

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