Visa to Invest $1B in Africa’s Digital Transformation
Visa has pledged to invest $1 billion in Africa to accelerate digital transformation.
The announcement was made during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington Wednesday (Dec. 14).
Visa will use the money to scale operations, deploy new technologies and deepen collaboration with its partners in the next five years. These include merchants, governments, financial institutions (FIs), FinTechs and mobile network operators, according to a corresponding press release.
The inclusion of mobile network operators reflects the different role Visa plays in Africa’s payment ecosystem compared to the United States.
As well as acting as a partner to banks that issue credit and debit cards, Visa’s African operations require it to work alongside the continent’s mobile money and alternative payment FinTechs, which use solutions including mobile wallets and virtual cards to bring digital payments to unbanked populations.
“Visa has been investing in Africa for several decades to grow a truly local business, and today our commitment to the continent remains as firm and unwavering as ever,” said Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly in the release. “Every day, Visa supports digital commerce and money movement in every country across the continent… We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners to advance the financial ecosystem, accelerate digitization and to build resilient, innovative and inclusive economies that will create shared opportunity and further spur Africa’s digital economy.”
With its structural role in global transactions, Visa’s investment could unlock untapped potential for payment digitization on the continent.
Less than 50% of the adult population of Africa have made or received digital payments, and more than 40 million African merchants don’t accept them, according to the release.
With those numbers, Visa isn’t the only player in global payments investing in Africa.
In October, Mastercard partnered with nClude, an Egyptian FinTech investment platform, to accelerate digital transformation in the country.
Shortly after that, the U.S. card company announced that it would work with Arab African International Bank (AAIB) to help drive the adoption of digital payments and digitize Egypt’s financial system.