After postings in Dubai, London, Miami, San Francisco, and Singapore, global digital payments giant Visa has built its first innovation studio in Africa and its sixth internationally in Kenya.
In order to co-create payment and commerce solutions, the studio will bring together developers, Visa’s internal and external clients, and other partners.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is a rapidly expanding region with a technologically sophisticated populace. Aida Diarra, senior vice president and head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa, stated, “As we continue to promote digital payment usage in the region, our objective is to deepen our engagement with customers and partners in building solutions that are tailored to Africa’s particular needs.”
“Visa has pushed huge technological developments that have made electronic payments what they are today as a brand built on technology.” “We are convinced that the innovation studio will build on that tradition and cement Sub-Saharan Africa’s status as a pioneer in developing unconventional solutions to address our region’s most critical concerns,” Diarra added.
Visa has already used its current innovation hubs to create products for the African market, including a partnership with Nigerian Fintech Paga to develop new merchant acceptance solutions based on QR codes and NFC technology.
A recent relationship with Safaricom, which allows the telco’s 150,000 mobile money (M-Pesa) merchants to accept card payments, was also nurtured in Visa’s other innovation laboratories.
Local and multinational firms, as well as governments, are launching such innovation centers across Africa as a means of producing new products through collaboration and remaining globally competitive.
Similar laboratories are established by companies like Cisco and Philips in Nairobi, and the Kenyan government is constructing Konza City, a technology city, to foster innovation in the country.
Meanwhile, numerous innovation hubs have sprouted in Africa’s startup capital, Nigeria, with a concentration in and around Lagos, the country’s cultural and commercial center and home to some of the continent’s biggest names, including tech-jobs network Andela, payments company Flutterwave, and e-commerce platform Jumia.