Visa has unveiled the Africa Fintech Accelerator program that aims to support African entrepreneurs by providing knowledge, contacts, technology and investment capital.
Following Visa’s recent announcement that it would invest $1 billion in Africa’s digital transformation and its long-term commitment to improving the continent’s economies and promoting inclusive growth, the Africa Fintech Accelerator program has now been launched.
Executive chairman of Visa, Alfred F. Kelly Jr noted that Africa has one of the most exciting and admired fintech ecosystems in the world, bringing outstanding entrepreneurial talent to a young digital-first population that is growing fast.
“Visa has been increasing our investments in Africa for decades and strengthening partnerships throughout the continent to support the next wave of innovation and growth. Our new Fintech Accelerator will bring expertise, connections, and investment to Africa’s best fintech start-ups so they can grow at scale.”
Through a three-month intensive learning program centred on business growth and mentoring, the accelerator will give up to 40 entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow and accelerate annually.
Following the program’s conclusion, Visa plans to continue supporting the growth of the fintech industry by making capital investments in a small number of the participating companies and speeding up their commercial launch through the use of Visa technology and resources.
Beginning this month, two application periods every year will be used to accept applications from fintech startups across Africa.
“Finalists from this year’s African national editions will be asked to join the accelerator program in 2022 when more than 1,000 African fintech businesses will compete in the Visa Everywhere Initiative competition.”
In addition to its $1 billion pledge to Africa, Visa has recently introduced several business initiatives and programs to further advance the payments ecosystem in Africa. These include:
Establishing local operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan to help support and strengthen the local financial ecosystem. Visa has 10 offices across Africa from which it supports payments in all 54 countries.
Secondly, the firm has unveiled the first dedicated Visa Sub-Saharan Africa Innovation Studio, in Nairobi, Kenya, to provide a state-of-the-art environment to bring together clients and partners to co-create future-ready payment and commerce solutions.
Thirdly, Visa is introducing and expanding new technologies that help African consumers and merchants make and receive digital payments, such as Tap to Phone to turn a simple mobile phone into a point-of-sale terminal, as well as lowering remittance costs through innovative solutions like Visa Direct.
“Establishing Visa as the fintech partner of choice, working with innovators and entrepreneurs, including through the Visa Everywhere Initiative program, with dedicated country programs in South Africa, Kenya and Egypt. Also, Visa is launching new programs to support women’s empowerment together with financial partners, including She’s Next, which is bringing funding, mentoring and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs leading growing SMBs in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.”
Lastly, the firm is collaborating, with partners, to advance financial literacy in several languages, including the first Arabic version of Practical Money Skills in Egypt.