Visa has introduced the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program, an initiative which aim to support the growing start-up community in Africa through the provision of expertise, connections, technology, and investment funding to enable the expansion of African fintech start-ups.
The program, which will be conducted over a three-month period, will empower up to 40 start-ups annually through an intensive learning program focused on business growth and mentoring.
Upon completion of the program, Visa plans to continue supporting fintech growth by investing capital in selected participating businesses. Additionally, the program will facilitate the commercial launch of these start-ups by granting them access to Visa technology and capabilities.
Visa recently made a pledge to invest $1 billion as part of their contribution to transforming the African digital space. The launch of the Africa Fintech Accelerator reflects the company’s long-term dedication to advancing African economies and promoting inclusive growth.
From July 2023, African fintech start-ups can apply to be part of the program during two application phases each year. This program is an extension of Visa’s Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global competition that started in the United States in 2015. In 2022, over 1,000 African fintech start-ups participated in VEI, and this year’s finalists from African country editions will have the opportunity to join the newly launched African Fintech Accelerator program.
Visa’s Executive Chairman, Alfred F. Kelly Jr., expressed enthusiasm about Africa’s fintech ecosystem, praising its entrepreneurial talent and its digitally-oriented, rapidly growing population. He emphasized Visa’s commitment to increasing investments in Africa and strengthening partnerships to support innovation and growth. He stated that the Fintech Accelerator program aims to provide expertise, connections, and investment opportunities to Africa’s best fintech start-ups, enabling them to scale their operations.
Otto Williams, Visa’s Head of Partnerships, Products and Solutions, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, also had a few things to say about the development.
“Africa’s fintech community is at the forefront of payments innovation and connecting more of the unbanked with access to the digital economy,” said Otto Williams. “Visa has been working with this innovative community to create new programs and solutions to help fintechs scale, while giving access to Visa’s technology and partner ecosystem. 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.”
Through its support for participating fintechs, Visa aims to enhance the payment ecosystem by expediting the development of new innovations and technologies that address unique challenges in Africa. These advancements will contribute to the digitization of the continent and promote financial inclusion, aligning with Visa’s corporate purpose of uplifting everyone by being the best payment solution.
Visa, a global leader in digital payments, operates in over 200 countries and territories, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions, and government entities.
Alongside the $1 billion pledge to Africa, Visa has introduced several initiatives to advance the payments ecosystem in the region. The company has facilitated local operations in regions such as Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan whilst also unveiling the first dedicated Visa Sub-Saharan Africa Innovation Studio in Nairobi, Kenya.
Visa has also introduced technologies such as Tap to Phone and Visa Direct to enable digital payments for African consumers and merchants. Moreover, Visa collaborates with partners to promote financial literacy and supports women’s empowerment through programs like She’s Next.