Visa has announced the launch of a new Africa Fintech Accelerator initiative to allow African startups to gain some foothold in the competitive market through expertise, technology, connections and investment financing. The project is consistent with Visa’s recent plan to spend $1 billion on Africa’s digital transformation and its ongoing commitment to promoting the region’s economic success and inclusive growth.
By providing a three-month intense learning program centered on company growth and mentorship, the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator will give about 40 start-ups every year a chance to grow and accelerate.
After the program, Visa plans to continue assisting the fintech industry’s growth by investing funds in a few participating companies and speeding up their launch using Visa’s resources.
According to Alfred F. Kelly Jr., the Visa executive chairman, Africa hosts one of the world’s most vibrant and renowned fintech ecosystems, attracting exceptional entrepreneurial talent to a youthful, rapidly expanding population that embraces digital technology. He added that Visa has been growing its investments in Africa and developing its relationships across the continent to assist the subsequent surge of growth and innovation.
Starting July 2023, fintech businesses from all around Africa can seek to join the program via two application periods annually. Notably, over 1,000 Africa Fintech start-ups participated in the Visa Everywhere Initiative(VEI) contest in 2022. This year, the finalists will have the chance to be part of the accelerator program.
The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a worldwide open innovation contest where companies pitch cutting-edge solutions to today’s payment and commerce problems. The program was originally launched in the United States in 2015 and afterwards went global. Nearly 12,000 businesses have applied to the program. In addition to receiving cash awards, VEI winners also get access to and exposure to Visa’s networks of business, financial, venture capital, and governmental partners.
Visa has unveiled many commercial initiatives and activities on top of its $1 billion commitment to Africa to help grow its payments ecosystem.
The payment platform has set up regional offices in ten countries in the continent to promote and improve the regional financial ecosystem, such as Ethiopia and Sudan. Visa also selected Nairobi, Kenya, to host its first Visa Sub-Saharan Africa Innovation Studio to bring about a cutting-edge setting to allow the interaction of customers and partners to co-create future-proof payment solutions.
Together with financial partners, it has also launched new projects to empower women, such as She’s Next, which provides funds, mentorship, and networking to entrepreneurs in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.
Moreover, Visa has worked with organizations to promote finance literacy in various languages, including the first Arabic edition of Practical Money Skills in Egypt.