Visa launches sub-Saharan innovation hub in Kenya to accelerate technological innovations


Visa, a global digital payments firm has opened an innovation studio in Kenya that is aimed at accelerating technological innovations in the sub-Saharan region.

The studio was officially opened by Dr. Patrick Njoroge, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, at the launch attended by leading banks, financial technology companies and innovation specialists from across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The facility will serve the sub-Saharan Africa region and joins a network of innovation centers operated by Visa since 2016, in cities including Dubai, Singapore and San Francisco.

The studio will help Visa clients and partners from across the continent extend their service offerings. Through a human-centred approach, the studio’s immersive environment will also give clients and partners tools to overcome some of their biggest business challenges while exploring new commercial avenues of opportunity

According to Visa, the new African Innovation Studio supports its commitment to promoting innovation and creating opportunities for clients and fintech partners to co-create market-relevant payment and commerce solutions throughout the region.

Aida Diarra, senior vice president and head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa said “Sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with a tech-savvy population. As we continue to grow digital payments adoption in the region, our aspiration is to deepen our collaboration with clients and partners in developing solutions that are designed around the unique needs of Africa.”

“As a brand built on technology, Visa has driven the major technology advancements that make electronic payments what they are today. We are confident that the innovation studio will continue that legacy and cement Sub-Saharan Africa’s position as a leader in creating out of the box solutions to deal with our most pressing challenges as a region.” 

 Dr. Patrick Njoroge saidthat the government will partner with the private sector in order to promote secure and efficient digital payments that increase the level of financial inclusion in the country. 

Visa recently partnered Safaricom to enable the telco’s 150,000 mobile money (M-Pesa) merchants to accept card payments. Visa has previously used its existing innovation hubs to design products for the African market, including a collaboration with Nigerian Fintech Paga to develop new merchant acceptance solutions involving QR codes and NFC technology.