Visa, the payments industry leader, will assist companies with knowledge, relationships, technology, and potential investment money through a new fintech accelerator program for Africa.

Up to 40 start-ups will receive support from the Visa fintech accelerator each year, helping them expand faster through a three-month intensive learning program centered on business development and mentoring.

Following the completion of the program, Visa plans to continue supporting the growth of the fintech industry by making capital investments in a small number of participating companies and speeding their commercial launch through use of Visa technology and resources.

At the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Africa conference in Marrakech, Morocco, Alfred F. Kelly Jr., executive chairman of Visa, announced the program.

Moreover the establishment of the accelerator follows Visa’s recent announcement that it will spend $1 billion in Africa’s digital transformation as part of its ongoing commitment to strengthening the continent’s economies and promoting inclusive growth.

Starting July 2023, African fintech startups can apply to join the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) program twice a year. Over 1,000 African fintech startups participated in the VEI competition in 2022, and this year’s finalists will have the opportunity to join the accelerator program. And then visa aims to support Africa’s flourishing fintech ecosystem by providing resources, connections, and funding for scalable growth. Alfred F. Kelly Jr. expressed enthusiasm for Africa’s entrepreneurial talent and digital-first population, highlighting Visa’s commitment to investing in the continent’s innovation and development.

Aiming “to create the money of the future”

Otto Williams, vice president of Visa’s Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, added his thoughts.

According to Williams, Africa’s fintech sector is leading the way in payments innovation and giving more people without bank accounts access to the digital economy. With the assistance of this creative community, Visa has been developing new programs and solutions to aid fintechs in scaling while providing them with access to its partner ecosystem and technological infrastructure. Moreover we are excited to partner with more talented entrepreneurs and businesses to impact the future of money through the new Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator.

African aspirations of Visa

Visa has unveiled a number of commercial initiatives and programs to further develop the payments ecosystem in Africa, in addition to its $1 billion commitment to the continent. These consist of:

  • Establishing regional offices in Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to promote and improve the regional financial ecosystem. There are ten Visa offices in Africa that accept payments from all 54 nations.
  • The first dedicated Visa Sub-Saharan Africa Innovation Studio was unveiled in Nairobi, Kenya, and it offers a collaborative environment for clients and partners to work together to co-create payment and commerce solutions that are ready for the future.
  • Introducing new technologies that make it easier for African customers and businesses to accept and make digital payments, such Tap to Phone, which transforms mobile devices into point-of-sale terminals, and reducing remittance costs with creative approaches like Visa Direct.
  • By collaborating with innovators and business owners, including through the Visa Everywhere Initiative program and with specific nation programs in South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt, Visa will become the preferred fintech partner.
  • Conjunction with financial partners, launching new initiatives to boost women’s empowerment, such as She’s Next, which provides finance, mentorship, and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs running expanding SMBs in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.
  • Finally developing financial literacy with partners in a number of languages, including the first Arabic edition of Practical Money Skills in Egypt.
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