Mastercard turns dream into reality for Saudi football fan

Basmah Alshnaifi with global footballers in the final match of UEFA Champions League.
Updated 11 June 2019
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Mastercard turns dream into reality for Saudi football fan

Basmah Nawaf Alshnaifi, a 10-year-old girl from Saudi Arabia with a passion for football, was given the opportunity of a lifetime, to become the first female Saudi mascot at the UEFA Champions League. The unique experience was made possible for her thanks to Mastercard. 

As the official sponsor of the sporting tournament, Mastercard provided an opportunity for Alshnaifi to walk the stadium with global footballers in the final match of UEFA Champions League in Madrid. 

The payments technology company offered Saudi cardholders the chance to win a surprise ticket by using their Mastercard debit and credit cards for everyday payments.  

J.K. Khalil, general manager in Mastercard, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, said: “At Mastercard, we are committed to offering cardholders priceless opportunities that allow them to pursue their passions. It is heartening to see such unbridled enthusiasm for football among young Saudi girls today, and we couldn’t be happier to make Basmah’s dream a reality. By innovating in the way we engage with consumers, we will continue to bring unique campaigns to the Kingdom that resonate with the people’s passions and make everyday digital payments simple, secure and rewarding.” 

Alshnaifi was given a ticket to the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham and Liverpool, where she got the chance to be the mascot for football legends. 

“I never thought I would ever have such an experience in my life. I have always had the dream to play in a big stadium and today I am present in the UEFA Champions League Final as a player mascot. I want to thank Mastercard for making this happen. This is the best gift I’ve ever received and I will always remember it, thank you as well to my family and academy for supporting me,” Alshnaifi said.  

Mastercard has been a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League since 1994, and recently added two women’s football clubs, Arsenal Football Club and Olympique Lynonais to its global portfolio, sending a signal for gender equality in sports.


ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

Updated 38 sec ago

ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

With the aim of discussing how the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) can expand their relationship and integrate the gender themes into ICD’s operations and businesses, a meeting was held between Ayman Amin Sejiny, CEO of ICD; Wendy Teleki, head of We-Fi secretariat; and Samir Suleymanov, director strategic initiatives, World Bank, at ICD’s premises in Jeddah recently. The parties discussed the development and promotion of women’s entrepreneurship through innovative sustainable solutions to increase women’s access to economic opportunities in developing countries. 

Teleki highlighted the main objectives of We-Fi, which is to support women entrepreneurs around the world through programs that provide financing, capacity building and also promote enabling environments that allow women to become entrepreneurs and grow their businesses. We-Fi uses an ecosystem approach to develop programs at the country level that will break down barriers and create more opportunities for women.

During the meeting, Ayman said: “ICD and We-Fi are working together to enhance their initiatives and mandates in supporting the female society in all ICD’s member countries. We want to ensure that our lines of finance and our relationship with the 102 directly connected financial institutions we are dealing with will further enhance the funding, training to women entrepreneurs and to provide the required necessary support to women in all our member countries.”

Teleki said that We-Fi has six implementing partners (IP) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is one of them. “IsDB, along with ICD is supporting women entrepreneurs in fragile countries. In Yemen, they have a very interesting ongoing program named BRAVE Women. They target to train up to 500 women to learn to develop business plans in fragile and high-risk contexts and up to 400 of them will get access to funding on a matching grant basis. This program aims also to develop the relationship between those women entrepreneurs with the local banks and also lead companies to make sure those women have access to finance and markets to grow their businesses. Moreover, the IsDB and ICD will be implementing soon this BRAVE Women program in two other countries to improve the women’s entrepreneurship potential in key economic sectors and we look forward to seeing those programs happening in future,” she said.

We-Fi is a global platform that seeks to support over a 100,000 women around the world in the next five years and mobilize at least $2 billion from the public and private sector for further activities.