Visa has announced the opening of the new Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program, which will provide experience, connections, technology, and investment money to Africa’s growing start-up community.
Visa Executive Chairman Alfred F. Kelly Jr. announced the effort at the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Africa in Marrakech, Morocco.
Through a three-month intensive learning program focused on company growth and mentoring, the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator will help up to 40 start-ups each year accelerate and grow. Following the completion of the program, Visa expects to further promote fintech growth by investing funds in select participating businesses and speeding their commercial launch through access to Visa technology and capabilities.
The Africa Fintech Accelerator program comes on the heels of Visa’s recent vow to invest $1 billion in Africa’s digital transformation, as well as its long-term commitment to improving Africa’s economies and creating inclusive prosperity. Starting in July 2023, fintech startups from around Africa can seek to be a part of the program through two application phases each year. With over 1,000 Africa Fintech start-ups expected to compete in the Visa Everywhere Initiative* (VEI) competition in 2022, finalists from this year’s Africa national editions will be invited to join the accelerator program.
“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,” said Alfred F. Kelly Jr., Executive Chairman, Visa, Inc. “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.”
The support for participating fintechs will help further strengthen the payment ecosystem by fast-tracking new innovations and technologies that provide solutions to challenges that are unique to the African continent, and which can further advance Africa’s digitization. In line with Visa’s corporate purpose to uplift everyone, everywhere by being the best way to pay and be paid, this support of Africa’s fintechs will facilitate additional opportunities to expand financial inclusion.
“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, Head of Partnerships, Products and Solutions, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa. “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.”
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.