Visa unveils first innovation hub in Africa to drive product development

Visa, the global leader in digital payments, has opened an innovation center in Kenya. This is its sixth worldwide, and first in Africa.

The studio will bring together developers, Visa’s internal and external clients, and other partners to co-create payment and commerce solutions.

“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 technological 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 used its innovation hubs in the past to create products for Africa. This collaboration included a partnership with Nigerian Fintech Paga, which developed new merchant acceptance solutions using 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.

Both local and multinational corporations as well as government are taking this cue to open innovation centers in Africa to help develop new products and remain competitive globally.

Similar labs are also operated by Philips and Cisco in Nairobi. Meanwhile, the Kenyan government is building Konza City to foster innovation.

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.

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