About the Mastercard Studio

Leaders from business, start-ups, academia and research institutions are meeting at the Xynteo Exchange/Norway to advance a new growth model fit for the 21st century. At the heart of the Exchange is a series of Studios, where we will bring leaders together to try to develop commercial solutions to human problems.


Advancements in digital technology over the last decade have led to greater inclusion. People all over the world now have unprecedented access to digital technology; over five billion people today own a mobile phone. McKinsey Global Institute has estimated that connectivity alone could account for 10 percent of Africa’s total GDP by 2025, creating 10 million new jobs. World leaders, from governments and corporations alike, agree – digital is the future of growth and development.


Yet, despite the potential, we have witnessed few scale deployments of digital technology to fundamentally improve the lives of the underserved. Commercial providers have not adapted their products or services to better meet needs – in agriculture, education, job creation, and so on – because entering these markets is often daunting. Moreover, transaction costs for developing solutions for frontier markets are high, with unpredictable market dynamics and regulatory constraints adding new risks.


Bilateral donors and multilateral institutions have key roles to play in supporting innovation. Official development assistance tops USD 100 billion a year. Critically, these public funders facilitate access to government stakeholders and collect market intelligence useful to potential service providers.


When merged together, the resources and capabilities of the public and private sectors can bring about transformational impact.


This year, Mastercard will host a studio focused on the challenges and opportunities to accelerate development in key sectors: health, education, energy access, and enterprise development. Representatives from business, government, finance, and civil society will work together to develop solutions for the design, financing, and delivery of effective public private partnerships.


Location: Oslo Opera House, Kirsten Flagstads Plass 1, 0150, Oslo


Antonia Stroeh

SVP Government & Development, Mastercard

Our one big question is this: How do we find new models to work together across private companies, civil society, government agencies and development organisations to unlock the investment that’s needed, and the innovation capacity and the execution skills, to create large-scale, transformative change?


During the studio, participants will split into five breakout groups to roll up their sleeves and work together on different challenges related to public-private partnerships. Read more about each of the problems we’ll be tackling together below:



Despite strong efforts by the public sector to provide redress, too many people around the world go without essential healthcare. Digital technology has the potential to generate data on public health needs to enhance coordination and mobilise resources more effectively.


The challenge: How might we design and launch a digital data platform to improve health outcomes?


Read more here.



Refugee children are at risk of losing precious years of schooling, limiting their future opportunities for growth. Technology has made it easier to access educational materials, but it does not yet accommodate the challenges of operating in complex environments.


The challenge: How might we mobilise technology and partnerships to better provide education in emergencies?


Read more here.



Off-grid solutions can improve energy access for underserved populations, but many startups lack the capacity to navigate complex market dynamics. Current public and private investment does not adequately address the requirements for scale.


The challenge: How might we scale off-grid energy solutions through public and private coordination?


Read more here.



Though MSMEs are critical to economic development, they are often locked out of opportunities to grow. Digital technology can readily facilitate links to finance and customers, as well as provide MSMEs with the means to develop necessary business and management skills.


The challenge: How might we use technology and innovative financing to empower micro and small businesses to connect to regional and international markets?


Read more here.

Find out more about the next Studio