The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) are joining forces to create an innovative new alliance against hunger.

A new partnership agreement, signed today by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Walt Macnee, Vice Chairman of MasterCard, at FAO headquarters, paves the way for a collaborative effort that will develop inclusive payment systems to support small-scale farmers and poor families.

Among other activities, the collaboration will explore ways to provide credit or money to households for purchases of basic needs and farming inputs on local markets, thereby supporting local economies and putting financial tools in the hands of economically marginalized communities.

The effort will benefit from the complementary strengths of each organization: MasterCard’s expertise in payments technology and FAO’s global reach and track record in combating hunger and malnutrition.

Kakuma refugee camp

The partners’ first joint effort will be in the Kakuma refugee camp, in Turkana County, Kenya, currently home to 170,000 refugees who have fled wars and violence in neighboring countries. Camp residents will be provided with prepaid cards that will permit them to buy charcoal produced locally by the host community – charcoal that has been certified as being produced in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. The scheme is designed to improve incomes of Turkana residents, reduce social tensions between those residents and the refugees, and relieve pressure on the environment.

MasterCard will provide its technology expertise, and a meaningful financial contribution, to kick-start the business chain by providing 1,240 host-community households with improved charcoal making kilns and 7,000 refugee households with energy efficient stoves and credit to purchase 25 percent of their annual charcoal needs.

Private sector ally in fighting hunger

“This partnership truly shows that the private sector is a key ally in global effort to build a world with zero hunger. FAO is extremely proud of this collaboration with MasterCard that will support small-scale farmers to become economically independent by advancing financial inclusion,” said FAO Director –General José Graziano da Silva.”

MasterCard’s Walt Macnee said: “This important agreement with FAO further builds on our commitment to establish meaningful partnerships that leverage global technology and insights to drive a more empowered, inclusive planet where people – regardless of where they live or their current economic status – are able to better build more self-determined lives. Together with FAO, we look forward to delivering against this vision.” (Original Source)

Shares of Mastercard Inc opened today at $90.16 and are currently trading down at $89.52. MA has a 1-year high of $99.18 and a 1-year low of $69.64. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $95.42 and its 200-day moving average is $92.19.

On the ratings front, Mastercard has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on August 25, Jefferies Co. analyst Jason Kupferberg reiterated a Buy rating on MA, with a price target of $112, which represents a potential upside of 24.2% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on August 20, Barclays’ Darrin Peller reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $107.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jason Kupferberg and Darrin Peller have a total average return of 14.5% and 13.6% respectively. Kupferberg has a success rate of 74.1% and is ranked #230 out of 3742 analysts, while Peller has a success rate of 68.4% and is ranked #141.

Overall, one research analyst has assigned a Hold rating and 6 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $98.67 which is 9.4% above where the stock opened today.

MasterCard Inc is a technology company in the payments industry that connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses, enabling them to use electronic forms of payment instead of cash and checks.