In July 2022, Global digital payments company, Visa was one of the investors in Bloom—Sudan's first YC-backed startup—$6.5 million seed round. An investment which Ahmed Mohey, Visa's country manager for Sudan and Libya believe will "drive acceptance of digital payments while finding opportunities to launch new products and services to Sudanese customers and merchants".
Five months later, Alfred Francis Kelly Jr., CEO of Visa disclosed that the company intends to invest $1 billion into Africa by 2027. Al Kelly said this on Wednesday (December 14, 2022) during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, at the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a three-day meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden, African heads of state, government officials and business leaders.
"Every day, Visa supports digital commerce and money movement in every country across the continent, and Africa remains central to Visa’s long-term growth plans," Al Kelly said, "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."
Aside from its investment in Bloom, Visa in a statement seen by Benjamindada.com disclosed some of its strategic investments geared towards its pan-African expansion. They include:
- Establishing local operations for the first time 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.
- Unveiling 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.
- Introducing and expanding new technologies that help African consumers and merchants make and receive digital payments, such as Tap to Phone which can turn a simple mobile phone into a payment device, as well as lowering remittance costs through innovative solutions like Visa Direct.
- Establishing Visa as the fintech partner of choice, working together with innovative financial technology companies and entrepreneurs, including running the Visa Everywhere Initiative program, which launched dedicated country programs in Ethiopia and Egypt, with the global program attracting entrants from across Africa.
- 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.
- Collaborating, with partners, to advance financial literacy in several languages, including the first Arabic version of Practical Money Skills in Egypt.
"Africa is experiencing an unprecedented digital acceleration, with a growing number of consumers, merchants and businesses realizing the benefits of secure and convenient digital payments to fuel commerce and money movement," said Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President of Visa, Sub-Saharan Africa. "Over the past year, Visa has continued growing our investment in Africa, through new offices, new innovations and solutions, and programs that are directly supporting financial inclusion. The investment pledge outlines our long-term commitment to Africa and the work we will do to help advance the financial ecosystem."