Visa launches a groundbreaking initiative aimed at bolstering Africa’s fintech startups and entrepreneurs. This program is designed to offer comprehensive support to these innovators, encompassing training, networking opportunities, access to cutting-edge technology, and the potential for investment.

With the capacity to accommodate up to 40 fintechs annually, this initiative demonstrates Visa’s commitment to fostering growth and innovation within Africa’s dynamic fintech landscape.

23 Startups Qualify

Visa’s inaugural Africa Fintech Accelerator program has unveiled its selection of 23 promising firms. This initiative is strategically crafted to bolster African startups by delivering a comprehensive support system, encompassing vital elements such as

  • Knowledge Enrichment
  • Strategic Connections
  • Advanced Technology Access
  • Crucial Investment Capital

By providing a multifaceted approach, Visa aims to empower these startups, contributing to the dynamic growth and success of the African fintech landscape.

Visa Launches Africa Fintech Accelerator in Marrakech

Visa (NYSE: V) made a significant announcement on June 14, 2023, introducing the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program. The initiative, presented by Visa Executive Chairman Alfred F. Kelly Jr. at Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Africa in Marrakech, Morocco, is strategically crafted to empower Africa’s burgeoning startup community.

This accelerator program aims to provide crucial support through expertise, valuable connections, cutting-edge technology, and investment funding, signaling Visa’s dedication to fostering growth and innovation across the continent’s dynamic fintech landscape.

Visa’s Fintech Accelerator Boosts African Startups

In July, Disrupt Africa highlighted Visa’s commitment to Africa’s digital transformation, backed by a $1 billion investment. The Africa Fintech Accelerator program, a pivotal component of this commitment, is designed to enhance the continent’s economy and foster inclusive prosperity.

The accelerator offers a condensed three-month learning experience, prioritizing business growth and mentorship to empower entrepreneurs. Upon program completion, Visa extends further support, including capital investment in selected businesses.

Additionally, participants benefit from expedited market entry facilitated by access to Visa’s cutting-edge technology and capabilities. This strategic initiative reflects Visa’s dedication to catalyzing positive change and innovation within Africa’s fintech landscape.

Diverse Fintech Innovations in Visa’s Accelerator Program

Anchor, a leading provider of APIs, dashboards, and developer tools for crafting financial solutions, stands out among the five Nigerian companies in the accelerator cohort. The cohort includes

  • Dojah specializes in comprehensive Know Your Customer (KYC) and digital onboarding solutions
  • Moni, facilitating low-interest loans for mobile money agent networks
  • Orda Africa offers African restaurant cloud operating systems
  • Traction is dedicated to developing cutting-edge payment solutions and business tools
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Other notable participants include

  • OkHi, is a platform enabling banks, fintech, and companies to collect and verify clients’ addresses
  • Duhqa, a B2B platform for the retail distribution of consumer goods
  • Workpay, an HR payroll service
  • Power, empowering employees to take control of their financial well-being

This diverse range of innovative solutions underscores the breadth and depth of the Fintech Accelerator’s impact on shaping the future of financial services.

  • OZÉ, specializing in digital recordkeeping tools with integrated finance products for medium and small businesses, joins The Blu Penguin, offering an in-store Point of Sale (PoS) system
  • AgroCenta operates a mobile merchant platform for smallholder farmers
  • Affinity Africa, extending banking products to the underserved and unbanked, in representing Ghana.

From Morocco we have;

  • Chari, a B2B eCommerce and retail business
  • PayTic, back-office operations, and payments risk control platform
  • Weego, a mobility platform, contributes to the cohort

South Africa is represented by

  • Floatpays, an on-demand wage access platform
  • Franc, empowering users to invest in major cash and stock funds
  • OnLife, an all-in-one money management wallet

This diverse lineup exemplifies the varied and impactful fintech solutions emerging across the African continent through Visa’s Accelerator program. The accelerator program by Visa features a diverse cohort including

  • Sympl from Egypt, enabling customers to shop and pay later without interest Eversend from Uganda provides a comprehensive payment platform with services like cross-border payments, virtual cards, currency exchange, and crypto transactions
  • PremierCredit in Zambia operates as an online microlending and investment platform
  • Konnect from Tunisia completes the lineup, showcasing the varied innovations emerging across the African fintech landscape

“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 of Visa.

“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.”

Visa’s Fintech Support to Boost African Payment Innovation

Visa’s support for fintechs in Africa aims to fortify the payment ecosystem, expediting the development of innovative solutions tailored to the continent’s unique challenges. Aligned with Visa’s corporate mission of being the premier payment solution to uplift everyone worldwide, this initiative not only advances Africa’s digitization but also opens up additional opportunities for expanding 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.”

Visa’s Multi-Faceted Commitment to Advancing African Payments

In addition to its $1 billion commitment to Africa, Visa is actively driving several initiatives to propel the payments ecosystem in the continent:

  • Local Operations Expansion: Visa has established local operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Sudan, reinforcing the local financial ecosystem. With 10 offices across Africa, Visa supports payments in all 54 countries.
  • Innovation Studio in Nairobi: The introduction of the first dedicated Visa Sub-Saharan Africa Innovation Studio in Nairobi, Kenya, provides a cutting-edge space for clients and partners to collaborate on developing future-ready payment and commerce solutions.
  • Technological Advancements: Visa is introducing and expanding technologies like Tap to Phone, transforming simple mobile phones into point-of-sale terminals. The company is also driving digital payment accessibility and reducing remittance costs through innovations such as Visa Direct.
  • Fintech Partnership: Visa positions itself as the fintech partner of choice, collaborating with innovators and entrepreneurs through programs like the Visa Everywhere Initiative. Dedicated country programs in South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt further strengthen this commitment.
  • Women’s Empowerment Programs: Visa is launching initiatives, including She’s Next, to support women’s empowerment. This program brings funding, mentoring, and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs leading growing SMBs in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.
  • Financial Literacy Collaboration: In collaboration with partners, Visa is advancing financial literacy in multiple languages, including launching the first Arabic version of Practical Money Skills in Egypt. These comprehensive efforts underscore Visa’s holistic approach to driving positive change and progress in the African financial landscape.
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In Conclusion

The inception of this new program stands as a clear testament to Visa’s burgeoning ambitions on the African continent and the trajectory of these aspirations. Notably, the program aligns with the prevalent trend in the region, where fintech companies consistently secure the lion’s share of venture capital funding compared to other technology categories.

In 2022 alone, these innovative fintech ventures amassed over $2 billion, contributing significantly to the $5 billion invested in the broader tech ecosystem. As the program progresses and fintech participants undergo the transformative three-month learning experience, Visa remains committed to propelling their growth.

Post-program completion, Visa intends to fortify this commitment by extending capital investment to select participating businesses. Simultaneously, the accelerator’s graduates will benefit from an accelerated commercial launch facilitated by privileged access to Visa’s cutting-edge technology and capabilities.

Visa’s strategic investment and support underline its role not just as a financial services giant but as a catalyst for sustainable growth in the African fintech landscape. This forward-looking initiative not only reflects the present momentum but also sets the stage for a future where financial innovation and inclusion go hand in hand with Visa’s commitment to uplifting economies and communities across the continent.

FAQs

What is the Fintech Accelerator Program in Africa?

In continuation of Visa’s recent commitment to invest $1 billion in Africa’s digital transformation and its enduring dedication to fostering economic advancement and inclusive growth across the continent, the Africa FinTech Accelerator program is set to commence accepting applications starting July 2023.

What is Visa Fast Track?

The Acceptance Fast Track offers a pathway for you to advance through the acceptance value chain and attain the status of an Acquirer. This includes streamlined onboarding, licensing, and implementation processes, facilitating aspiring Acquirers to establish their operations swiftly and efficiently.

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What are the Benefits of Fintech in Africa?

Fintech has revolutionized the way Africans access banking, payments, investments, savings, and loans. The continent’s population also enjoys enhanced employment opportunities, thanks to the investments made by Fintech companies in new technologies.

What is Fintech and What are the Four Key Areas of Fintech?

Fintech, a fusion of “financial technology,” encompasses companies leveraging new technology to challenge traditional financial methods in providing financial services. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, and big data are collectively known as the “ABCD” – the four key areas – of fintech.

What are the Disadvantages of Fintech?

Nevertheless, fintech comes with its drawbacks. This article delves into some of the most notable disadvantages of fintech, encompassing security risks, the absence of physical branches, global imbalances, compromises to privacy, legal and regulatory challenges, as well as scalability issues.

How Risky is Fintech?

The risks posed by fintech to consumers can be broadly categorized, covering concerns such as the loss of privacy, compromised data security, increased vulnerabilities to fraud and scams, unfair and discriminatory utilization of data and data analytics, as well as non-transparent practices in data usage that affect both consumers and regulators. Additionally, there are concerns about the harmful manipulation of consumer information.

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