Visa has launched its first African innovation hub in Kenya to drive product development across the continent.
The hub will enable Visa's internal and external clients, developers and other partners to build innovative payment and commerce solutions. The global digital payment giant currently has five other hubs in Dubai, London, Miami, San Francisco and Singapore.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with a tech-savvy population. As we continue to grow digital payments adoption in the region, our aspiration is to deepen our collaboration with clients and partners in developing solutions that are designed around the unique needs of Africa,” said senior vice president and head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa, Aida Diarra.
“As a brand built on technology, Visa has driven the major technology advancements that make electronic payments what they are today. We are confident that the innovation studio will continue that legacy and cement Sub-Saharan Africa’s position as a leader in creating out of the box solutions to deal with our most pressing challenges as a region,” said Diarra.
Visa has previously used its existing innovation hubs to design products for the African market, including a collaboration with Nigerian Fintech Paga to develop new merchant acceptance solutions involving QR codes and NFC technology.
Also fostered in Visa’s other innovation labs was a recent partnership with Kenya’s Safaricom allowing the telco’s 150,000 mobile money (M-Pesa) merchants to accept card payments.
Patrick Njoroge, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) commended Visa for picking Kenya as the regional centre for the innovation studio.
“If it (innovation) happens in Kenya it will also happen in other sub-Saharan African countries. That’s why it’s important to test things here and have the innovation studio here,” he said.
He pointed out a long term relationship with Visa in terms of raising the quality of Kenya's cyber security saying that CBK had been working with the firm, local banks and payment service providers to strengthen the digital finance infrastructure
Across Africa, both local and multinational corporations, as well as governments, are taking the cue to launch such innovation centers as a means to developing new products through collaborations and to remain globally competitive.
Organizations such as Cisco and Philips also run similar labs in Nairobi, while the Kenyan government is building a technology city, Konza City, to drive innovation in the country.
Meanwhile, numerous innovation hubs have opened in Africa’s startup capital, Nigeria, with concentration around Lagos, the country’s cultural and commercial center, and home to the continent’s greats like tech-jobs network Andela, payments company Flutterwave and e-commerce platform Jumia.
Featured Image: Akshay Chopra, Visa's Vice President and Head of Innovation for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) with Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya at the newly opened Visa Innovation Studio in Nairobi on April 6, 2022.
Source: The Standard Kenya