Visa pledges to invest $1 billion to support digital transformation in Africa
Today at the US-Africa Business Forum, Visa announced its commitment to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to advance resilient, innovative and inclusive economies across the continent.
Visa’s expanded investment demonstrates the company’s long-term commitment to Africa’s growth potential and will enable greater access to the benefits of digital payments as a way to expand formal financial services to individuals and merchants.
On this occasion, Visa President and CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jr. announced the pledge during the US-Africa Business Forum, in conjunction with the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, DC.
Improve payment systems
This commitment expands Visa’s operations in Africa and deepens cooperation with strategic partners including governments, financial institutions, mobile network operators, financial companies and retailers.
The investments also work to strengthen payment systems through innovation and new technologies, support the digitalization of economies and invest in skills development, talent development and capacity building.
“Visa has invested in Africa for several decades to develop a truly local business, and today our commitment to the continent is as unwavering as ever,” said Al Kelly, President and CEO of Visa Inc.
He added: “We support digital commerce and the movement of money in every country across the continent, and Africa remains at the heart of Visa’s long-term growth plans. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners to improve the financial ecosystem. , accelerate digitization and build resilient, innovative and inclusive economies that will create shared opportunities and further boost Africa’s digital economy.”
These investments will create additional opportunities to support financial inclusion agendas, and Visa aims to enable women-led SMEs in Africa through its operations and community programs. Today, an estimated 500 million people in Africa are denied access to formal financial services, less than 50% of the adult population have made or received digital payments in Africa, and there are still more than 40 million merchants who do not accept digital payments.
“Africa is experiencing unprecedented digital growth, with more consumers, merchants and businesses realizing the benefits of secure and convenient digital payments to drive trade and money movement,” said Aida Diarra, Visa’s Senior Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa.
She continued: “Over the past year, Visa has continued to grow its investments in Africa, through geographic expansion, innovation, new solutions and programs that directly support financial inclusion. The investment pledge underscores our long-term commitment to Africa and the work we will do to help strengthen the financial ecosystem.”
“Financial inclusion is key to achieving long-term economic prosperity and we are proud to work with financial partners and the public sector to launch new initiatives like She’s Next,” said Laila Sarhan, Visa’s senior vice president, North Africa, Levant and Pakistan.
“We look forward to continuing to support programs that promote inclusion and prosperity, as well as delivering new innovations for consumers and businesses across Africa,” added Leila.
Visa investments in Africa
Visa has recently made significant strategic investments to strengthen its presence in Africa, including:
• For the first time, we established local operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan to help support and improve the local financial ecosystem. Visa has ten offices across Africa from which it supports payments to all 54 countries.
• Creation of the first innovation studio to serve the South Africa region in Nairobi, Kenya to provide an ideal environment for customers and partners to come together to co-create future-ready payment and commerce solutions.
• Introducing and developing new technologies that help consumers and merchants in Africa make and receive digital payments, such as Tap to Phone which can turn a simple mobile phone into a payment device, as well as reduce remittance costs through innovative solutions such as Visa Direct .
• Establishing Visa as the partner of choice in the FinTech space, working alongside innovative FinTech companies and entrepreneurs, including the launch of the Visa Everywhere initiative with local versions in Ethiopia and Egypt, and a global program attracting participants from across Africa.
• Launching new programs to support women’s empowerment in collaboration with financial partners, including She’s Next, which provides funding, skills development and networking opportunities for female entrepreneurs with growing SMEs in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.
• Collaboration with partners to promote financial literacy in several languages, including the launch of the first Arabic version of the book “Practical Money Skills” in Egypt.