By Whitney Akinyi
To provide support to Africa’s growing community of start-ups and entrepreneurs in the financial technology (fintech) sector, Visa, a leading digital multi-international financial company, has unveiled its new Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program.
The launch took place during the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Africa event in Marrakech, Morocco.
The program offers training, connections, technology, and investment opportunities for up to 40 fintech companies each year. It is designed to help participating start-ups accelerate their growth through a three-month intensive learning program that focuses on business development and mentoring.
After completing the program, Visa plans to continue supporting the growth of these fintech companies by investing capital in selected participants and facilitating their commercial launch with access to Visa’s technology and capabilities.
Fintech start-ups from across Africa can apply to join the program during two application phases each year, starting from July 2023.
This initiative aligns with Visa’s commitment to Africa’s digital transformation, as the company recently pledged to invest 1 billion US dollars in driving the continent’s digital growth and long-term economic development.
Alfred Kelly Jr., Visa’s Executive Chairman, expressed his enthusiasm for Africa’s fintech ecosystem, highlighting the exceptional entrepreneurial talent and the rapid growth of the digital-first population in the region.
“Visa has been increasing our investments in Africa for decades and strengthening partnerships throughout the continent to support the next wave of innovation and growth. Our new Fintech Accelerator will bring expertise, connections, and investment to Africa’s best fintech start-ups so they can grow at scale,” said Kelly.
Through the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator, participating fintech companies will receive support that aims to enhance the payment ecosystem by expediting the development of new innovations and technologies that address unique challenges specific to Africa.
Otto Williams, Head of Partnerships, Products, and Solutions for Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Visa, acknowledged Africa’s fintech community as a driving force behind payment innovation and the expansion of access to the digital economy.
Williams emphasized Visa’s commitment to working with this innovative community by offering access to technology and partnership ecosystems, in addition to creating new programs and solutions that assist fintech in scaling their operations.
“Through the new Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator, we are looking forward to working with more brilliant entrepreneurs and companies to shape the future of money,” he said.
Visa has made several recent business initiatives and programs to advance the payments ecosystem in Africa, including establishing local operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
Additionally, Visa introduced the Visa Sub-Saharan Africa Innovation Studio in Nairobi, Kenya, as a collaborative space for clients and partners to co-create future-ready payment and commerce solutions. The company has also launched new technologies such as Tap to Phone, which turns a mobile phone into a point-of-sale terminal, and Visa Direct, an innovative solution to lower remittance costs.